Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Candlelight vigil honors the victims of drug overdoses

Law enforcement officers and family and friends of victims of drug overdoses gather for a past Candle Light Vigil sponsored by NOPE, or Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education, of Hillsborough.

NOPE of Hillsborough

Law enforcement officers and family and friends of victims of drug overdoses gather for a past Candle Light Vigil sponsored by NOPE, or Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education, of Hillsborough.

TAMPA — Lynne Knowles suspected for months that something bad was going on with her daughter.

Jamie dozed off at odd hours, slept too much and woke up too early.

One day, Knowles came face-to-face with the truth.

She entered a Walgreens bathroom and found Jamie, who had just graduated from high school, preparing to stick a needle in her arm.

"I was in shock. I actually went screaming out to the pharmacists to call the police. I thought they could make her stop,'' Knowles said.

Jamie, who started abusing pain pills before her junior year of high school, died of a heroin overdose in 2012 at age 23.

Knowles, president of the Hillsborough Chapter of Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education, or NOPE, spends much of her time these days trying to keep other students from starting down that deadly path.

She is one of the speakers scheduled to address the crowd at Hillsborough High School Thursday (Oct. 19) for the annual candlelight vigil memorializing victims of drug overdoses.

Participants will start gathering at 6 p.m. in the school's lobby, where more than 500 photographs of people who died of drug and alcohol abuse will be on display.

Friends and family members of those on the Memorial Wall are invited to write special messages to their loved ones.

"It honors not only the (victim) but also family members and friends,'' said Beth Butler, coordinator of the Hillsborough chapter of NOPE.

People concerned about the problem, along with those still actively struggling with addiction and people in recovery are invited, she said.

Butler, whose son is three years along in recovery from pain pill abuse, said that the stigma of addiction appears to be easing as more people come to realize that it is a disease and not the result of weak willpower.

NOPE's main mission is to reach out to middle and high school students with a powerful message delivered by friends and family members of victims, most of them caught up in the pain pill and heroin epidemic that has swept the nation.

"We know that we're affecting children; we know that we are helping them,'' Knowles said. "I know the presentation is powerful and moves children, and they do remember.''

She doesn't preach. She just explains what happened to her daughter and how devastating it was for her and the family. She tells about Jamie's life and reminds the audience that she now has only memories.

"I'll never hear her say, 'I love you, Mom,' ever again.''

And she tells them that two of Jamie's closest high school friends also died from overdoses.

Contact Philip Morgan at pmorgan@tampabay.com.

>>IF YOU GO

NOPE of Hillsborough hosts its annual Candle Light Vigil at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Oct. 19) at Hillsborough High School, 5000 N Central Ave. This event helps raise the awareness of addiction and honors those who have lost their lives or loved ones to overdose death. ABC Action News Anchor James Tully will serve as emcee, gifted vocalists, and stories of hope. NOPE also has started a support group for anyone who has lost a loved one or friend to any drug- or alcohol-related incident. For more information, go to nopehillsborough.org and scroll down to the segment titled, "A Journey to Healing Hearts.'' NOPE of Pinellas also its vigil at 7 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 19) as well. It will be at Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, Largo.



>>If you go

NOPE Candle Light Vigil

NOPE of Hillsborough hosts its annual Candle Light Vigil at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Oct. 19) at Hillsborough High School, 5000 N Central Ave. This event helps raise the awareness of addiction and honors those who have lost their lives or loved ones to overdose death.The event features ABC Action News Anchor James Tully, who will serve as emcee, gifted vocalists, and stories of hope. NOPE also has started a support group for anyone who has lost a loved one or friend to any drug- or alcohol-related incident. For more information, go to nopehillsborough.org and scroll down to the segment titled, "A Journey to Healing Hearts.'' NOPE of Pinellas will hold its vigil at 7 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 19) as well. It will be at Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, Largo.

Candlelight vigil honors the victims of drug overdoses

10/12/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 8:45am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Unforgiving wildfires affect vineyard workers and owners

    Nation

    SONOMA, Calif. — When the wildfires ignited, vineyard workers stopped picking grapes and fled for their lives. Some vineyard owners decided to stay and fight back, spending days digging firebreaks and sleeping among their vines.

    Wilma Illanes and daughter Gabriela Cervantes, 8, found their home intact, but had lost a week’s wages and sought aid.
  2. O'Reilly got new contract after big settlement

    Nation

    Last January, six months after Fox News ousted its chairman amid a sexual harassment scandal, the network's top-rated host at the time, Bill O'Reilly, struck a $32 million agreement with a longtime network analyst to settle new sexual harassment allegations, two people briefed on the matter told the New York …

    Bill O’Reilly was fired by Fox News after multiple allegations.
  3. Trump plans to release JFK assassination documents

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Saturday morning that he planned to release the tens of thousands of never-before-seen documents left in the files related to President John F. Kennedy's assassination held by the National Archives and Records Administration.

    FILE - In this Nov. 22, 1963 file photo, President John F. Kennedy waves from his car in a motorcade in Dallas. Riding with Kennedy are First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, right, Nellie Connally, second from left, and her husband, Texas Gov. John Connally, far left.  President Donald Trump, on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017,  says he plans to release thousands of never-seen government documents related to President John F. Kennedy's assassination.  (AP Photo/Jim Altgens, File) NY107
  4. Water leak slows traffic in Westshore area

    Public Safety

    TAMPA –– A broken water main has closed the westbound lane of West Cypress Street between North Westshore Boulevard and North Ward Street. The city estimates the repairs will be completed by 7 a.m. on Sunday.

  5. Fox renewed O'Reilly contract despite knowing of allegations

    Nation

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Fox News Channel says the company knew a news analyst planned to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill O'Reilly when it renewed the popular personality's contract in February.

    Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly appears on the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," in New York. O'Reilly has lost his job at Fox News Channel in April following reports that several women had been paid millions of dollars to keep quiet about harassment allegations. [Associated Press file]