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Terry Cowgill
On Friday afternoon organizers of the Smash the Stigma event planned for Saturday, Oct. 5, assemble a makeshift memorial in front of Town Hall in Great Barrington, Mass., for the more than 200 victims of opioid addiction in Berkshire County. From left, Gary Pratt, Mark McGovern and Rachel Gayle.

Smash the Stigma of Addiction event Saturday in Great Barrington

By Friday, Oct 4, 2019 News

Great Barrington — Downtown Great Barrington will be alive with energy tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 5. Organizers hope hundreds of people will join them for the Smash the Stigma of Addiction event.

Late Friday in advance of the event, three of the organizers worked to draw attention to the issue and the event: Gary Pratt, Mark McGovern and Rachel Gayle. Pratt and McGovern work in the substance abuse treatment business in Pittsfield. Gayle has a brother who died of addiction and played a role, along with her sister Amanda Root, in founding the Railroad Street Youth Project.

The trio was busy in front of town hall planting 215 flags — the same number of people who died of opioid addiction in Berkshire County between 2010 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Substance Addiction of the state Department of Health.

“We all know someone who has been affected by this,” said Pratt, the founder of Smash the Stigma and who himself was an addict. “Everybody does.”

More than 200 purple flags were planted in memory of the death toll from opioid addiction in Berkshire County from 2010-2018. Photo: Terry Cowgill

The event begins at 11 a.m. at Memorial Field on Bridge Street next to RSYP.

“We will have a resource fair with over 35 service providers presenting what they do,” Pratt explained. “CHP and Tapestry Health will have their vans. There will be food trucks and family activities.”

There will be a rally and a walk through town, and expert speakers will round out the day. For more information, go to the Smash the Stigma Facebook page. The schedule is below.

The #SMASHTHESTIGMA of Addiction event will be held at Memorial field in Great Barrington. The event runs from 11-3 p.m. This is a family oriented event!

There will be games and activities for kids, food vendors including Biggins Diggins food truck, 413 Grill, and Dottie’s Coffee Lounge. Several organizations will be assembled in a resource fair to educate and raise awareness. The schedule of the event is as follows:

11:00-12:30 – Resource Fair, lawn games, food

12:30-1:30 – Walk (route: down Riverwalk, up Church Street, down Main Street, to town hall to rally, then back down Bridge Street)

1:45-3:00 – Guest speakers

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