PAINESVILLE, Ohio – Harvey High School in Painesville and Perry High School teamed up to hold a candlelight vigil Saturday night to remember those whose lives were lost to heroin. 

Students handed out purple awareness ribbons and wristbands.

Recovery services were on hand to answer questions about addiction and how to get loved ones into treatment.

Students like Jason Ahlborn helped organized the event.

“We needed to tackle a health care issue in our community, so we thought heroin was the biggest one right now especially in Lake and Geauga counties where it hit really hard,” Ahlborn said.

Those who attended the event also heard from recovering heroin addict Sandy Miller who said her path to heroin started with pain pill addiction. 

Her brother recently died from a heroin overdose and that’s not all.

“My cousin called me last Saturday to tell me she would support me at this event and I got the call Sunday saying she overdosed on heroin and died. You have to separate yourself when you get sober, you have to change people, places, things and the second you go back to those people you’re going to do those same things,” she said. 

Miller said the heroin problem is getting worse because it’s being mixed with the painkiller fentanyl.

The student-organized event isn’t going to end addiction, but students are glad they got the discussion about heroin in their community going, and out in the open.

Students also collected donations, which will be given to the Lake and Geauga county recovery center.