Hanover woman hosts overdose awareness rally, tribute to son and other victims

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Tracy Miller at an Overdose Awareness Rally in Hanover Square in 2013.

Tracy Miller lost her son, Aaron Lawrence, when he overdosed on heroin at the age of 20 and two of his friends did not call for help.

Though her son's death happened in 2010, Miller, of Hanover, said drug use is still a problem in her community — and needs more attention. 

"It's still happening. People are still dying," she said. "People are being left to die by their friends."

From noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, Miller will be joined by dozens of other community members gathering for an Overdose Awareness Rally at the intersection of Eichelberger Street and Eisenhower Drive in Hanover, behind the North Hanover Mall.

Amanda Miller, left of Spring Grove, and her daughter Ava, 8, take part in a rally on Continental Square in York to bring awareness to "Don't run, call 911," Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015.  John A. Pavoncello - jpavoncello@yorkdispatch.com

Miller said she hopes the rally will help local family and friends cope with loved ones who are battling addiction or have fallen victim to an overdose.

People attending the rally are encouraged to bring signs and photos of loved ones.

In York: Aug. 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, and other rallies are expected to occur countywide.

The Not One More chapter in York is hosting a rally from 4 to 6 p.m. at York’s Continental Square, located at 1 E. Market St.

"It's just a way to hopefully bring community together and honor those who lost their lives to this," Miller said. "This is still a problem." 

In 2018, there were 172 opioid-related deaths in York County, according to the York Opioid Collaborative.

History: Miller's son, Lawrence, died on July 20, 2010. Two individuals faced charges last year relating to his death.

Jennifer Busbey, 27, of Mont Alto, Frankiin County, was convicted of third-degree murder, drug delivery resulting in death, heroin possession with intent to deliver and criminal conspiracy to commit all three offenses, on May 18, 2018. She was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in state prison.

Busbey's co-defendant, Justin Wentz, 29, of Hanover, pleaded guilty to the first-degree felony of drug delivery resulting in death and is serving more than a decade in prison.

"When you lose somebody, it's indescribable," Miller said. "I'm doing this not for any other reason but to possibly help the next family."

Aaron Lawrence, 20, of Hanover died of a heroin overdose on July 20, 2010.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.