Marshall community learns about “Addiction in Appalachia”

The Marshall University Student Health Education Programs, English Department and Student Affairs sponsored “Addiction in Appalachia: Our Stories” Sept. 7 at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center.

Students, faculty members and the surrounding community gathered at 7 p.m. to hear from those affected by addiction.

Jessica Page, a Huntington resident, said events such as this one helps open the eyes of the community.

“It’s very powerful when you get to hear firsthand what people go through with alcohol and drug abuse,” Page said. “Not only do you hear from those who used personally, but also from those on the outside looking in.”

The sound of faint sniffles filled the room as each speaker shared their unique experiences with those in attendance.

Nick Pauken, a recovering addict and one of the speakers for the night, said he wanted the community to take away a new mindset about the lives involved with different drug abuses.

Pauken said that it’s very important that the community is educated about the dangers of drug abuse and recognize the humanity behind the pain.

“One of the most important things to me in sharing my recovery is that it is possible,” Pauken said. “Even though it may seem hopeless, being that you’re the addict yourself or knowing someone who’s the addict, just never giving up hope helps those find their own path to recovery.”

A reception followed the program, which allowed friends and family of the community to celebrate the courage of their loved ones who shared their experiences.

Christian Davis can be contacted at [email protected]