By: Rachel Anderson, Staff writer
The heroin epidemic sweeping the United States has left virtually no community untouched.
Lebanon, Pennsylvania, is one of many towns across the nation that is facing a high rate of opioid abuse. Adam DelMarcelle is combatting the issue by creating posters depicting various heroin-themed scenes that are critical of Lebanon police and County Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Yocum.
Adam DelMarcelle, an adjunct professor at Lebanon Valley College and a local crisis counselor, started an anti-heroin awareness campaign after losing a brother to a heroin overdose. The campaign awareness began on Sept. 19, the second anniversary of DelMarcelle’s brother’s death.
“We have mass amounts of heroin deaths and overdoses on a daily basis, a lot more than what is reported in the news,” DelMarcelle said. “What is told to the general public is a watered down version of what is actually happening.”
The posters were created by DelMarcelle and based on his personal interaction with the heroin epidemic. The artwork was originally hung on utility poles in Lebanon but was taken down because of city ordinances, an action which DelMarcelle believes is a bad use of police time.
“Police went out and tore [the posters] down,” DelMarcelle said. “They took a couple of hours to tear down these posters of police when they could have been getting heroin dealers off the street, saving someone who is overdosing or doing something to combat the problem.”
The purpose of the posters is to bring voices together to start a community conversation. The artwork is used as a vehicle to drive the message that dealers need to be taken off the street.
DelMarcelle hopes to put pressure on elected officials and have community members monitor their own neighborhoods.
“People have to take pride in where they live and police their neighborhoods when they see things that are not going the way they should be,” DelMarcelle said. “We need to report these things and demand action. We must be proactive and make sure police are following through.”
Looking forward, DelMarcelle plans to create a campaign package that he can send to other areas dealing with the heroin epidemic. The hope of the organization is to tell personal stories to make an impact on communities.
“If the general public starts to actually understand what is going on coming from people who are actually affected, that’s where real change will lie,” DelMarcelle said. “If we keep things general by saying drugs are bad and that we shouldn’t have them, there is no real validity to that. But when you start to bring real voices of people to it, police have to act.”
The artwork can be found on the organization’s Facebook page, “What Heroin Sounds Like” and in the Art & Art History Department and Gallery Offices located in the Clyde A. Lynch ’18 Memorial Hall.
If you wish to share your personal story or get involved with the organization, contact Professor DelMarcelle at firstname.lastname@example.org