Vigil for Front Royal addiction victims planned

A newly formed group focused on educating the public about the dangers of drug addiction will hold a candlelight vigil from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. today at the Front Royal gazebo at the intersection of Chester and Main streets.

The event’s organizers said they wanted to draw attention to the soaring number of drug overdoses and arrests in Warren County and elsewhere. The county has recorded six deaths so far this year from overdoses linked to heroin or other opiate drugs.

Shannon Roman said the vigil is one of the early initiatives of Just One Movement, an organization she founded recently in response to reading and hearing about the toll the heroin epidemic was taking in her hometown of Front Royal. She said Wayne Starks, Tasha Thompson, Sheree Thompson and Jennifer Swain have also helped launch the organization.

“I just kept seeing people I went to school with, friends of mine, children, passing away from this drug,” said Roman, who now lives in Stephens City.

The vigil will include remarks from recovering addicts, family members of addicts who died from overdoses and medical professionals.

Luminaria bags will be available for participants to write the names of loved ones whose lives have been ruined or lost as a result of drug addiction. A member of the clergy will attend to pray with those currently suffering from the effects of addiction.

Swain, who helped organize the vigil, said she hoped the event will focus attention on the dismaying number of heroin overdoses and deaths.

“There are a lot of overdoses and a lot of drug arrests,” Swain said. “You see it everywhere you go.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com