Torchbearers held its first ever fall fundraiser, Art Against Addiction, a silent auction helping to combat the opiate epidemic in the greater Akron community. The proceeds supported the Summit County Community Partnership’s (SCCP) Deterra Project, which removes thousands of unused prescription medications from the streets.
The idea for this fundraiser was born out of a conversation between Torchbearers members and community influencers, which Torchbearers facilitated to identify solutions to Greater Akron’s most pressing challenges, the opiate epidemic rising to the top.
“When I think about the journey we set out on from the time we formed the Community Impact Committee, we weren’t sure where it would lead us, but I can’t think of any better outcome than this,” said Hillary Stewart, incoming president of Torchbearers. “What an exciting community win.”
More than 100 people attended the fall fundraiser, in turn raising over $3,000. These funds have directly purchased 615 Deterra drug deactivation pouches. According to SCCP, these pouches make it easy and convenient for individuals to destroy unused prescription medicine in their homes, which reduces the number of pills available to fall into the wrong hands in our community.
“Better yet, SCCP has matched the amount of money raised by Torchbearers,” said Alyce Jennings, Development Director for Summit County Community Partnership. “With the match, the impact doubles to 1,230 pouches, 55,308 pills, and 824 households. Those are real lives.”
According to the Ohio Department of Health, unintentional drug overdose continues to be the leading cause of injury-related death in Ohio, ahead of motor vehicle crashes, suicides, and falls. The increased illicit use of a powerful opioid called fentanyl was a significant contributor to this rise in overdose deaths. Summit County had the third highest number of fentanyl-related unintentional overdose deaths in Ohio in 2016.