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Project Live a Resource in the Drug Abuse Battle

Local group provides help for those affected


            You are not alone.      

            That is the message of Project Live, a grassroots counter-attack against the scourge of drug abuse tormenting the nation and residents of the Valley.

            Members of the Upper Perk community have been working behind the scenes to establish a drug task force, and after more than a year of preparation, Project Live is set to provide Valley residents with an active, visible ally.

            Project Live (rhymes with "give") will be a resource for anyone directly or indirectly dealing with the terror of addiction and substance abuse.

            Officer Jamie Lavin of the Upper Perk Police Department is the Chairman of Project Live's Executive Committee and a member of the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office Local Drug Task Force.

            "Almost every day, I am forced to either incarcerate a drug user; notify a family that their loved one has either died or is at a local hospital due to do an overdose; or remove a child from an unsafe household due to the drug or alcohol dependencies of their caregivers," Lavin said.

            "The impact this disease has on families, children, and our neighborhoods is why I felt obligated to dedicate my time and energy to this initiative."

            Project Live's purpose is: "To provide educational, social, preventative, and rehabilitative support to those affected by Substance Use Disorder in the Upper Perkiomen Valley," according to its website (

            Statistics from 2016, reported by coroners and medical examiners in Pennsylvania, paint a grim picture of an epidemic. With 4,642 overdose deaths last year, the death rate from overdoses in the Commonwealth rose 37% over 2015. On average 13 people a day died of overdoses in Pennsylvania

            The numbers could be much worse if not for the use of Narcan which reverses the effects of overdose and is now carried by many police departments and available in some schools, including Upper Perkiomen High School.

            As of March of this year, Montgomery County and Bucks County had totaled 440 "reversals" since the law covering Narcan/Naloxone use was enacted in 2014.

            The Valley is not sheltered from the devastation substance abuse wreaks on the user and his/her loved ones.

            Winnie Houck, a member of Project Live, and her husband Bob lost their son Andrew, 24, less than a year ago. She wants to help others confronted with the bane of addiction.

            "For people currently dealing with addiction in their families, I would say never give up on your loved one. Hope for a better day," Mrs. Houck advised.

            Janie and Dana King's son, Mitchell, 28, fatally overdosed in February. They have also joined Project Live.

            "There have already been many deaths in this Valley, even though you may not have heard about them. It's time to speak up now. It's time to stand up and fight. The suffering needs to stop," Mrs. King wrote in an email.

            In May, Frank Hollister's son, Chris, succumbed to the disease of addiction at age 26. "If you think your loved one has an addiction problem you should educate yourself on what the addiction issue is, reach out to the school, neighbors, doctor and their friends," counseled Mr. Hollister.

            Another member of the Executive Committee, Luanne Stauffer, President of the Upper Perk Chamber of Commerce said, "Misuse and overdoses of opioids is a multi-layered health issue threatening the well-being of our small, rural community. Project Live is a healthy approach to strengthening our community."

            Project Live's committees include: Outreach and Marketing, Mentoring, Legislative, Prevention and Education, Funding, and By-Laws.

            The entire committee meets on the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Upper Perkiomen Ambulance building at 2199 E. Buck Road, Pennsburg. Anyone is welcome to attend.

            Project Live's first major event will be a memorial service before the September 8th Upper Perkiomen High School football game. Those who have lost loved ones to drug overdoses are invited to participate in a pre-game gathering at 5:30 in the Walt Road parking lot, followed by a march into the field and a moment of silence.

            More information, including an FAQ, is available on the Events page of the Project Live website (

            Project Live will also have a table at Community Day on Saturday, September 9.

            Use the contact form on the website for questions related to Project Live.





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