Inside Savage Sisters’ packed month of events to combat Philly’s opioid crisis
The fight against opioid addiction only got worse over the past year, meaning relief efforts must double down.
Sarah Laurel, the founder of Savage Sisters has been involved in the fight against the opioid crisis in Philadelphia for the past five years.
As part of her dedication, Laurel has opened a sober living facility and partakes in many public events and outreach efforts on weekends to hand out harm-reduction kits, food, and essentials for residents struggling with addiction.
Her mission is to limit the number of deaths from opioid abuse by organizing different workshops, such as yoga, holistic therapy, and other beneficial practices.
On Aug. 29, Project Hope Live will be hosting Savage Sisters to provide an eco-therapy/mindfulness retreat at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge from 1 to 3 p.m.
The goal is to increase mindfulness, emotional and breathing regulation, and distress tolerance by spending time in nature.
All of the mindful practices will become beneficial for those recovering from addiction.
“Savage Sisters programs are implemented successfully and received by the residents gratefully,” Laurel said in a recent interview with AL DÍA News. “Participants have given strong positive feedback about the programs which are offered at no cost to them.”
In addition to her workshops and public events, Laurel also dedicates time to advocate in Harrisburg for recognition of the grueling opioid epidemic occurring in Philadelphia for decades.
Laurel has organized a public gathering and meeting at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex in Harrisburg.
“Events allow us to connect on a more personal level with individuals and further our mission to help the city heal,” she said.
She stated that families and supporters will be meeting on the front steps of the Capitol.
building to remember their loved ones and bring much-needed and continuous awareness for substance use disorder.
She will also be speaking at the event and encourages anyone passionate about ending stereotypes surrounding the opioid epidemic and focusing on the future for those suffering from drug addiction.
Laurel has always focused on stating her problems in front of public officials, which is why she organized it on International Overdose Awareness Day.
“Savage Sisters is advocating for treatment vs. incarceration so that the disease of addiction is treated accordingly and not criminalized,” said Laurel.
Laurel is also hoping to see change and improvement through government funding.
“The ultimate goal is to humanize the disease, increase resources and lower the amount of fatal overdoses,” said Laurel. “All of these things will take more funding allocated towards the opioid crisis so it has to start with policy change.”
Although Savage Sisters have been around for only five years, Laurel and her team of volunteers have helped hundreds of residents wanting to create a clean and healthy life for themselves.
The nonprofit organization has opened four recovery houses with WiFi, in-house staff, and access to computers.
She and her team also help with resume building, trauma therapy and weekly yoga classes.
Laurel and her crew still go out every Thursday to deliver supplies in the most affected neighborhoods.
“Savage Sisters was created by the community and in order to remain as such, we must be present and in touch with the pulse of the city,” she said.