From a press release

Hundreds of people didn’t let the rain dampen their fun at this year’s Chester County Color 5K, held in Exton Park on Saturday morning, October 7.

Individuals and families of all ages ran, walked, and cheered on participants at the seventh annual event.

The event, initiated by Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline in 2016, raises funds to combat the opioid and heroin crisis in Chester County. Over six years, the Color 5K raised more than $200,000 for the County’s Community Outreach Prevention and Education (COPE) program that is supporting many aspects of substance use disorder, including focusing on the warm hand-off to treatment for those suffering from the disease of addiction.

More than $110,000 is predicted to be added to that total this year, thanks to generous sponsorship support, led by the Color 5K presenting sponsor John R. Gailey III and JoEllen Berger Charitable Fund.

The COPE program provides 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week emergency room support for overdose survivors and their families at all hospitals in Chester County. The program also provides overdose prevention information and outreach to first responders, hospital staff, family members and friends. Importantly, COPE provides expedited admission into detox and a review of all treatment options for overdose survivors who agree to treatment.

In her comments before the start of the Color 5K, Commissioner Michelle Kichline said, “Since it began, the COPE team has successfully engaged with 98 percent of overdose survivors in our emergency rooms, and through those engagements, seven out of 10 people who experienced an overdose have been personally helped with treatment.”

Commissioners Marian Moskowitz and Josh Maxwell commended Commissioner Kichline’s efforts to battle the opioid and heroin crisis during her nine years as a County Commissioner.

“In addition to the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for the COPE Program, Commissioner Kichline led the County’s lawsuit efforts against opioid manufacturers.

“These efforts eventually led to Chester County signing on to a national opioid settlement, receiving more than $19 million for the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorder.”

Michelle Kichline is serving her last year as a member of the Board of Commissioners.

Many organizations that support drug & alcohol information and recovery services in Chester County set up displays in Exton Park and offered information and advice.

Color blasters heralded the start of the Chester County Color 5K and color stations along the route doused participants with brightly colored cornstarch.

“Events like the Color 5K are bittersweet,” added Commissioner Kichline as she addressed the Saturday morning crowd. “We are all here to enjoy the race and to raise awareness and money, but at the same time, we reflect on the senselessness of 103 beautiful lives lost to addiction in 2022, and the tremendous struggles of those who continue to battle substance use disorder.

“We will continue to do everything we can to fight this dreadful disease.”