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Heroin Addiction Awareness Rally Set For Saturday In Poughkeepsie

Anthony Eack of Hopewell Junction, known as Tony Gatz, is leading a movement to help people recover from heroin/opiate use in the Hudson Valley --focusing on Dutchess County by starting new weekly "RAP" sessions in January in Hyde Park and Fishkill.
Anthony Eack of Hopewell Junction, known as Tony Gatz, is leading a movement to help people recover from heroin/opiate use in the Hudson Valley --focusing on Dutchess County by starting new weekly "RAP" sessions in January in Hyde Park and Fishkill. Photo Credit: Fox News

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Families recovering from alcoholism and addiction plan a rally in downtown Poughkeepsie on Saturday to raise awareness about the exploding epidemic of heroin and opiate painkillers in the Hudson Valley region.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, state Sen. Sue Serino of Hyde Park and congressional representatives are among the scheduled speakers.

The rally begins at 4 p.m. at South Clinton and Main streets, and is expected to last until about 8 p.m. Young people in recovery, and their parents, also plan to attend.

"In order to win this battle, you have to go into the trenches,'' said Anthony Eack of Hopewell Junction. "It's all about saving lives."

Eack, who with his family created a non-profit called “Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life Foundation applies his own life experiences toward chipping away at the widening drug crisis.

Spending more taxpayer money on videos or classroom instruction hasn't put a dent in the scourge of homelessness, helplessness and poverty caused by heroin addiction, according to Eack.

Starting next month, Eack has secured agreements with two more locations in Dutchess County for heroin/opiate recovery meetings.

The first regular meeting in the Hudson Valley for heroin/opiates recovery was held Sept. 20 in Wappingers Falls. "One meeting a week doesn't cut it,'' Eack said on Thursday.

"I have been in long-term recovery from alcoholism. I used the fellowship of Alcohol Anonymous as my foundation of recovery,'' Eack said. "I went from town to town in Dutchess County in shopping centers to raise awareness on the drug epidemic."

Eack, a certified recovery coach, said people across the nation seek his advice. He had just gotten off the phone with a woman from Maine when he talked to Daily Voice. He's often invited to speak at high schools and public drug forums.

"I have sponsored many people of all ages in the 12-steps recovery process," Eack said. "I do now and will continue to do one-on-one mentoring with individuals."

Two new RAP Session Opiate Recovery meetings will begin next month in Hyde Park and Fishkill. For details on specific days and locations, call Eack -- who goes by the nickname, Tony Gatz, at (646) 894-3632 or click on resources at this web site. “RAP” stands for Reach All Potentials.

"We hope to inform the community about how important it is to educate about drug and alcohol abuse, and over time, hope that this will prevent future addictions,'' Eack said.

Another 2016 goal of Eack's: starting parent support group meetings.

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