Today is Black Balloon Day, where people across the United States bring awareness to drug overdoses by remembering those who lost their lives. Messengers Supporting Recovery, a support group based out of Elk County, put up close to a hundred black balloons in parts of Elk and Cameron Counties.
“Without each other, I think we’d all be lost” said Patricia Greene, who is part of Messengers Supporting Recovery. “We hold each other up, and this is our way of getting together and honoring our kids.”
These black balloons are filled with more than just helium. Each one is filled with the sorrow of loved ones, who attached index cards with the names and photos of a relative who lost their battle with addiction. Messengers Supporting Recovery put up close to a hundred of these balloons over the last few days.
“I think it helps us all because we get out there and let everybody know that this is a real thing, you know, and we support each other,” Greene said. “We can be their voice now because they have no voice left.”
The balloons were put up in Saint Mary’s, Ridgway, and Johnsonburg in Elk County, as well as in Emporium in Cameron County. While the balloons serve as a way to remember the fallen, Greene says action is necessary to inspire change.
“Whatever we’re doing, we’re doing the same thing over and over and over and it’s not working. We’ve got to take a different approach,” she said. “We’ve got to figure out a different way to help these kids, otherwise you’re…we’re not gonna have…we’re losing a whole generation here.”
For starters, Greene says we have to be honest with children when they ask about drugs, and we have to set the right example for them.
“These kids that are coming up now, you know, pretty soon they’re going to be out there, and they’re going to start experimenting, cause mommy and daddy does it, or…brother and sister does it,” she said. “You know, if they see it…(silence)…They think it’s okay.
Greene added that she will be part of a book release where each chapter will be about a child who lost their lives to addiction, and will be written by a loved one. She hopes it will be out in June.