NORWOOD, Ohio -- Marchers at day two of the Hope Over Heroin event came across the scene of an overdose during a prayer walk Saturday afternoon.
The event came amid a spike in overdoses in Greater Cincinnati. Police responded to at least 15 overdoses in Cincinnati Saturday, compared to 11 Friday, 24 Thursday, 43 Wednesday and 21 Tuesday. Three people have died.
Marchers headed toward some of the areas hit hardest by the heroin epidemic, but said they didn't expect to come across anyone who overdosed.
Hope over heroin rally just came across an overdose while they were marching. @WCPO pic.twitter.com/2ZlwBHA0Ig
— Matt Citak (@mattcitakWCPO) August 27, 2016
"We weren't even going to go down that route, and my brother told me we need to go down Montgomery Road, so we did, and the next thing you know we come up on this person that just OD'd on heroin," Nathan Attwood said.
Hope Over Heroin is a collaborative group organized by pastors from Ohio and Kentucky. They hope to create a safe space and positive environment for recovering addicts and their families. It’s a personal issue for many of those involved, like Mike Fritts, whose sister died from an overdose.
"The number one thing I think people need is moral support to know what people care, there are people who care and we don't look at them as just drug addicts," Fritts said. "We look at them as they are our children, they're our brothers and sisters."
The event also gives those in recovery, like Shawn James, a place to reach out and help others.
"Give the Salvation Army or any treatment facility a chance," he said. "Try a faith-based one, there's a lot of love, a lot of people have gone through the same thing that they're going through and just give it an opportunity and a chance."
Visit wcpo.com/heroin for recovery resources.