PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Richard Walters was an addict for 21 years.
"You know, there was a time where I could ever just get to the other end of this, if i could ever just grab a hold of this, I'm never looking back," said Walters.
He got sober April 28, 2014.
"I finally got to a point where i could do something about it. Thank God for it," he said.
His mission is to help addicts find hope. That's why he and others helped organized a rally called Freedom Fest.
"A huge part of recovery is having people around you to build you up, so it's good to have people around that are here to support me, that are like here to be with me on this road," said Adam Park, a recovering addict that's been sober for a year.
During the event, different speakers shared their struggle with addiction and how they made it to sobriety.
"Nobody ever gets to see the transformations. Nobody ever gets to see the success stories. That's why we have so many people come out here and share a message of hope so people will see that there's a light at the end of the tunnel," said Walters.
This event is just one example of activism that's hoping to scale back the drug problem in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
"The recovery community we're building here. Our ministry, High on Hope, is going to have a facility here. i think we are hitting it from all angles. We're hitting it from a faith-based angle, also from the 12 step program, so i think that the unity we're finding in Parkersburg is very important moving forward to see the addiction problem drastically drop. I think we're on the right track to see a big turnaround in the Mid-Ohio Valley," said Tim Craft, founder of High on Hope Ministries.
Another community event about this is coming up after Freedom Fest. In the fall, the second annual Walk Against Heroin will take place at Parkersburg City Park. The date is set for Saturday, September 2 at 1 p.m.