MIDDLEFIELD — Powder Ridge hosted “Bring It To The Light” – a music festival that aimed to entertain and educate on the dangers of opioid abuse.
The festival was held on International Overdose Awareness Day on Saturday and featured speakers and vendors that provided information and resources.
“I think this is a wonderful concept. The more that we can talk about this, the more that we can get together and brainstorm solutions, the higher likelihood that we’re going to make some progress in what is a very difficult situation,” said Michael Kalinowski, project director for the Durham Middlefield Local Wellness Coalition.
Music was provided by American Amnesia, Eight to the Bar and headliner B Reaney Blues. The frontman of BRB, Bill Reaney, came up with the idea for Bring It To The Light.
Reaney experienced problems with opioid addiction with his son about eight years ago.
“The main goal of this whole thing is to get people to come out of the dark age about the opioid crisis, about being an addict,” he said.
The festival also offered mountain biking, tubing and different yard games. Vendors were selling things like jewelry, soap and candles, Food was supplied by Powder Ridge.
“People need to be more fully aware of this,” said state representative, Arthur O’Neill who was in attendance. “We need to raise public awareness and that’s something that needs to be done at every level: government, private.”
O’Neill’s wife, Ruby, a previous congressional candidate and tenured psychology professor, was a speaker at the festival.
Having dealt with substance abuse with her ex husband, she knows firsthand how devastating it can be.
“I lost everything and I found myself a single mom with two kids; in a pickle without a nickel,” she said. “It’s just eating up our communities. It’s sucking the life and the love and the soul right out of our communities.”
O’Neill said that she likens overcoming addiction to “slaying the dragon.”
“It gets everyone,” she said.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the CDC, over 70,000 people died in 2017 from some form of drug overdose and the culprit in over 40,000 of those cases were opioids.
Reaney said that he was looking forward to seeing more people come as the day continued.
“Even if we only reach two or three people, that’s all that matters,” he said.