Addiction Awareness Rally Held in Scranton in Memory of Local Woman

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SCRANTON -- The Henehan family is celebrating their daughter's birthday this year on Courthouse Square in Scranton with pictures instead of presents.

"I wish we were planning her 25th birthday party and not a rally, and I said, 'Well the truth is this, we are planning it.' It just so happens to be the biggest birthday party in the state of Pennsylvania today," said Marty Henehan, Sammi's father.

The Henehan's lost their daughter Sammi, at just 23 years old.

Sammi was fighting an addiction to heroin since she was a teenager, according to her family.

Sammi started her 20s sober, and in April of 2016, she died of an accidental overdose.

"She was under the misbelief that she could use and control it, and that's one of the things that is the biggest lie addicts or alcoholics fall into that misconception," said Henehan.

2017 is the second year the Henehan family has raised money to help people seek treatment at The Forever Sammi Foundation's Addiction Awareness Rally.

The family said this is what Sammi would have wanted her parents to do.

"Everybody called her Sammi because she was such a bubbly personality, always running around with a joke, a smile and a hug for somebody," said Henehan.

Organizers estimate about 6,000 people came out to Courthouse Square Sunday, and the hope is that anyone struggling with addiction leaves seeking treatment.

Just Believe Recovery Center in Carbondale had a booth at the rally doing just that.

"We are running out of business cards and fliers. We can't even keep them on the table," said Bridget Boettcher of Just Believe Recovery Center.

Organizers connected people with detox, residential rehab, and structured sober living resources.

"We do get a lot of calls from them for referrals and we're always right there. We do 24/7 admissions and they know that so whenever they find someone in need they just give us a call and we go pick them right up," said Boettcher.

With the sun shining down on the rally, her parents say Sammi would be proud of the message they're sending.

"Let them know it's OK to talk about this openly, you can't find a solution to something if you keep it to yourself," said Henehan.


  • I am sofa king we todd idd

    There are alot of rattlesnakes in the area which I reside. I’ve been taught at a young age not to get close to these serpents because they can kill me. Maybe I’ll go play with one today. Maybe I’ll write a poem first. If I die, please make me out to be the victim of the cruel rattlesnake that I grabbed by the tail.

  • Archie Beal

    I feel no pitty for these junkies…they are not victims they are not suffering from a disease…they are junkies that chose to get high over and over and it caught up to them…I think every junkie should croak…it will cut down on the thefts…robberies …burglaries and assaults…crime rate will go way down. Dirtbags they are

  • Andrew Gavin

    Hey, how do I cash in in the Junkie craze ? Why stop the drug flow, think of all the treatment “jobs” jobs that will be lost!!

  • Fight for what's right

    Just believe? More like Just Pretend. That company is horrible, and they only care about making money- not about the person struggling with addiction.

    • Stephanie Robbins

      Well, Just Believe helped saved my life & I thought it was amazing! :) This “junkie” is 2 years completely sober and i love giving back to the community! Life is wonderful today.

      • Trueconfessions

        Stephanie, GOOD FOR YOU! Keep taking your sobriety on a daily basis.

        It’s people like you who are alive, working on it, and maintaining your recovery that need to be the heroes. You made a wise choice when other options were on the table.

        Good for you. One day at a time.

  • population control has many faces

    Our country is becoming way too overpopulated. Our government is unwilling to stop ALL immigration, legal or otherwise so I think drug overdoses, car crash fatalities, murder, etc. are a healthy ingredient to keep our nation from looking like China.

  • JP

    Accidental overdose, really. Knowing that your sticking that crap into yourself is no accident. Wake up mom and dad. Your kid was a junkie.

  • b

    its not a Disease its a choice people that have cancer is a disease they dont wake up asking for cancer like the people on drungs wake up and make the choice to do drugs just sick

    • Fight for what's right

      Actually, it is classified as a disease.

      A chronic disease is a long-lasting condition that can be controlled but not cured.

      About 25-50% of people with a substance use problem appear to have a severe, chronic disorder. For them, addiction is a progressive, relapsing disease that requires intensive treatments and continuing aftercare, monitoring and family or peer support to manage their recovery.

      The good news is that even the most severe, chronic form of the disorder can be manageable and reversible, usually with long term treatment and continued monitoring and support for recovery

    • Trueconfessions

      “Addictions” used to be classified as mental diseases. They were viewed, at one point, to be symptoms of a much larger mental illness with the addiction just being one component.

      Nowadays, obesity isn’t a “disease,” because we’re forced to endure Fat Acceptance. Gender dysphoria isn’t a “disease” and we’re forced to endure the Special Snowflake Syndrome. Drug addictions aren’t a “disease,” because “they can’t help it.” It’s all a bunch of word salad and a green light for people to go whole hog and excuse whatever their issues are upon some label. ADHD? Not a creative kid that needs an outlet, but some bogus illness to get Ritalin or Adderal to “manage” an active, curious, and creative child’s natural behavior. Godalmighty – everyone has an excuse.

      The ONLY people making any money from addictions are the halfway houses, the rehab facilities, the staff that are employed at those places, the hypnotists, Big Pharma, and other voo-doo approaches that are expensive and 100% ineffective. I have never heard of anyone that finished a rehab program and remained clean or sober as a result of the program. TRUE recovery costs NOTHING. It just costs the addict their own time and means of transportation to get to FREE support meetings, the physical withdrawal, and the lifelong management of their addictions. That’s it.

      The “War Against Drugs” has done nothing more than to facilitate an economy based upon misery. Children as young as 4 are being taught that mommy and/or daddy are “addicted” if they have a beer after mowing the lawn, and that they should contact authorities if they (the CHILDREN) believe that their addict parents are being abusive – by grounding them or making them face consequences.

    • Trueconfessions

      Well, it is technically a mental illness – a disease. But, it is also a disease that an individual can choose to either manage, or not.

      There should be “Recovery Awareness” rallies instead of “Addiction Awareness” events. The addicts who made the choice to indulge in their drug of choice and paid the ultimate price are gone. They are not icons. They are not examples of courage, strength, or fortitude. They are examples of what happens when people make unwise choices. Celebrate the addicts who are managing their addictions, instead. THESE are the people who are standing up, standing accountable, speaking truthfully, acknowledging their vulnerabilities, and wrestling their bulls down by the proverbial horns.

      All of this “awareness” bu11shirt has become tedious, monotonous, and just plain ineffective. We’re expected to pay homage to the ones who left their families in ruins, and that dog just don’t hunt.

  • take a guess

    especially when both parents are the ones who showed their deceased child how to utilize drugs. Yet we put them on the pedestal and feel sorry that they lost their child….It was a learned behavior in the family lets keep giving them the OK are they both clean? Are they still USING? like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

    • nasty

      I only hope sir or ma’am you never loose a child or loved one to this disease .. your prob a drug dealer with no soul…waiting to pray on your next victim. No one is perfect!!! so step down off the pedestal you are on…

      • Trueconfessions

        Nasty, with “addiction awareness” comes some level of responsibility. Beginning in pre-school, children are infused with the concept of “addiction,” whether they are capable of processing that concept, or not. They are told by teachers, special “guests,” and DARE program mentors about things that they really don’t need to know about, at that tender age.

        So, “awareness” isn’t the problem, here. Turning dead addicts into heroes rather than telling our youth, “This is one of the possibilities of you choose to shoot up.” Instead of these individuals remaining dead addicts, they are memorialized as “brave,” “courageous,” “wonderful,” and other such outrageous assertions. Anyone who has experienced any type of addict in their family or lives knows that there is nothing but misery associated with any addiction. Addicts are deceptive, manipulative, selfish, and they don’t care whom they hurt UNTIL such time as they realize what they’re doing to themselves and others is a personal choice.

        I absolutely do feel compassion and empathy for the loss of anyone’s child – it’s a horrible tragedy. But, a 23 year old who chooses to inject a potentially lethal substance into their veins cannot be compared to a 9 year old that dies tragically in a house fire. That 9 year old didn’t have a choice whether to burn, or not. Addicts do. It’s time that addicts are recognized as addicts instead of heroes. There’s no medal for dying from an overdose.

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