An annual program in Mercer County is helping show people battling addiction that there is hope and support available in the community.

The event is called ROAR, Removing Obstacles to Assist Recovery.  

One of the guest speakers, Chris Spradlin, told the crowd he is alive because of God. 

"In 2016, I was ready to die. It got so bad my family stopped talking to me. I was trying to commit suicide every night," said Spradlin. "I went to treatment, and I got around people in recovery, and I found out the drugs, and everything wasn't my problem. My problem stemmed from something inside, and I was able to open up and discover who I am, and today, I have those relationships back with my family."

He went on to tell the crowd how he had been sexually abused as a child, and that his addiction started after he was given a prescription for a hip injury and painful form of arthritis.

As well as celebrating the lives saved, a memorial is in place for those who lost their lives in their battles with addiction.

Empty shoes represent people loved ones lost to addiction in the county.

In 2018, 53 people died from overdoses in Mercer County. 

"People struggling with addictions don't have to be ashamed or give up. They can make a phone call to the Behavioral Health Center Crisis Line, or visit their office at 912 East State Street, Sharon. That's across from the Dollar Store. We can get them into treatment through the office," said Gloria Mackaly, President of the Mercer Coalition for Drug Awareness. "ROAR has programs and meetings for people in recovery. We have socialization, a pool table, karaoke on Friday and Saturday food. We help them with work searches, whatever we can do to help people get back on their feet."

Others in the community are working on a goal of opening sober living homes in the county.

Allisha Jack and her husband, who is in recovery, have a mission.

Their dream is to start up sober living homes in the area.

Allisha's husband is two years sober from heroin.

"This area is flooded with suicide, and there's a lack of resources. Honestly, a lot of people go elsewhere for 30-day treatment programs. We are looking for an eight or nine-month program. We are exploring forming a non-profit and seeking state and federal grants to help us do this," said Jack.