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Our Local Heroin Addiction

Our Local Heroin Addiction

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Boalsburg group works to help those battling addiction


By: Lauren Hensley

BOALSBURG, Pa. -- A force of change: That's the goal of one Centre County group after losing their beloved friend to a heroin overdose in January.

The Order of Elizabeth was created to honor a Boalsburg native Elizabeth "Lizzie" Smeltzer after she died unintentionally of a drug overdose.

It's one of the earliest forms of portable light and for centuries candles have used to turn darkness into light, and The Order of Elizabeth is using candle making-making as a form of healing and helping to bring a dark secret of the Centre region into the light --the community's heroin problem.

"As far as the community goes, I am still not convinced that they are 100 percent at how pervasive it truly is," member Debbie Ritter said.

The group calls themselves the Order of Elizabeth, first formed to help friends of Lizzie Smeltzer cope with the pain and sorrow following her fatal heroin overdose.

"Lizzie was my best friend and she was so funny and caring and vibrant, intelligent and beautiful, and she was not the type of girl who you would think was doing drugs," member Beverly Hartman said.

Quickly the mission of evolved with many members wanting to do more to fight the uphill drug battle plaguing the area.

"So much of the thinking we do is looking at the social scene and social pressures of this town to try and understand why here, why now," member Jennifer Harp said.

Working as a force of change, the group began making candles to spread the light.

"We felt Lizzie always had a light within her so we came up with the idea of Lizzie's light," member Sophie Restall said.

The group makes and sells candles in honor of Lizzie and to represent anyone struggling with addiction. Money raised will go towards buying supplies and continuing community outreach. They've got big plans for the future, but for now, focus remains on bringing this problem into the light and a strong message for anyone battling addiction.

"There are people who are supporting you and love you and getting help is the best thing you can do for you and everyone that you love," member Alaina Henry said.

If you are interested in learning more about the Order of Elizabeth, click here.

Boalsburg group works to help those battling addiction

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