FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - September is National Recovery Month for people struggling with substance abuse, so hundreds of people gathered at the Kentucky State Capitol to walk for awareness.
It was the 2019 Walk for Recovery, but for many people there, it seemed more like a march for motivation.
Each step taken toward the capitol building was a step away from addiction.
"Rehab is the way to go,” walker Brandon Bland said. “It is helping, and I just want the communities to be aware that we aren't bad people, that we really do care and we do have hearts."
Some walkers have been fighting their battle for years.
“I entered addiction at nine years old,” Bland said.
Others are just now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
"There's a way out, and a lot of people don't know that,” walker Gina Jones said. “I did not know that.”
Still, more people were walking to honor friends and family lost to the opioid epidemic.
"I have about 10 or 11 buddies that died due to overdoses," walker Shawn Maynard said.
But, everyone was there with the same determination for recovery.
“If I go half the length for my recovery as I did to find my drugs and alcohol, the sky is the limit,” Jones said.
Speakers at the event, including Governor Matt Bevin and Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy's Van Ingram, announced Kentucky's overdose deaths are seeing a fifteen percent reduction. That’s triple the national average of just five percent.
They called it a sign of hope but still a fight that is far from over.