(The following press release was submitted by the City of Wentzville.)
The St. Louis area Stop the Heroin Rally Group will bring their anti-heroin message to Wentzville on Saturday, November 3.
From noon until 3:00 p.m. that day, rally participants will be lined up along Wentzville Parkway, running north from near the intersection of Wentzville Parkway and Pearce Boulevard, wearing T-shirts and carrying signs and banners designed to bring awareness to the growing epidemic of heroin use among young people.
Ed McCann, the organizer of this grass-roots group, said at this time they have about 150 people signed up to attend the rally, but that people don’t have to sign up to be part of the rally. “They can just show up that day and join us with getting the message out,” said McCann.
The St. Louis group, which is part of a nationwide movement, holds about one such gathering every week throughout the greater St. Louis area, and currently has more than 1,000 members. McCann said, “The purpose of these rallies is to educate the public on the rise in heroin use among teens, the death and destruction it is causing nationwide, and pay our respects to the tens of thousands of young people who have been lost to the heroin epidemic in recent years.” McCann said many of the participants who show up at these rallies display tributes in memory of someone they knew or loved who died of a heroin overdose.
One of the rally participants in Wentzville on November 3 will be Wentzville’s mayor, Nick Guccione. For Guccione, teen deaths from heroin use became personal earlier this year when his 18-year-old niece died of an accidental heroin overdose.
“Today’s heroin user doesn’t fit our image of a hardcore junky shooting up in abandoned buildings,” says Guccione. “Today it’s often teens from solid, middleclass families who start using heroin at parties for a fun high, but end up hooked or even dead.”
While heroin use has declined in the adult population, there’s been a dramatic spike in heroin use by teens. Deaths from drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental deaths among teens, surpassing traffic accidents. According to the Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base Web site, teens and young people in their early 20s are targeted as the next big market for heroin. The Web site also states that in some places, teens claim heroin costs less than a six pack of beer and is more accessible than alcohol.
More information about the St. Louis Stop the Heroin Rally Group is available on their Facebook page: Anti-Heroin Rally Page St. Louis Region.