Portsmouth, OH 'Invasion' slated for Saturday, thousands of are - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Portsmouth 'Invasion' slated for Saturday, thousands of area drug addicts expected to attend

Portsmouth, OH 'Invasion' slated for Saturday, thousands of area drug addicts expected to attend

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PORTSMOUTH, OH - Amy Lambert, originally of Richlands, Virginia, knows how many drug addicts feel, because she has been on the streets, living in drug houses and her car, as she supported an addiction through most of her teenage years.

After her parents divorced, at age 12, she turned to drugs and alcohol.

By age 16, she was in deep.

"It got to the point, where I was injecting heroin or oxycontin like 20 or 30 times a day," recalls Ms. Lambert. "I remember going to my grandmother's house. I knew she kept a little bit of money for groceries in her bible, and I took that last little bit of money. I stole it, and I went and bought drugs with it."

The Invasion starts at Portsmouth's Spartan Municipal Stadium at 5 PM on Saturday afternoon. -- Gates open at 3 PM.

It is free to all.

After a year-long recovery program, Lambert returned to the world ready to help.

"Once, I dealt with them (personal issues that pushed her toward drugs), I came out and really had a passion to reach out to people that were in that same situation," says Lambert, now 30, and sober for eleven years.

Since 2009, she has been holding invasions in other towns like Bluefield, West Virginia and her hometown of Richlands, Virginia, that have been affected by drug addiction.

This time around, she chose Portsmouth.

Lambert has been making regular trips to the area for the last several months to solicit donations and sponsorships from the community.

The free event costs about $80,000 to put on.

She gets excited as she tells our Ben Nandy about the bands ('Red' and 'We As Human' are scheduled to perform along with one of several local groups that are competing tonight for the honor of opening the show), skateboarding and BMX demos, and especially the area near the bleachers where representatives from rehabilitation and counseling agencies from around the country will be standing by to help anyone who asks for it.

"We're just going to knock that out all at one time, and make sure we can get them into a bed immediately," says Lambert.

A number will be displayed on a LED screen by the stage all evening for people to put their call for help in a text, which will be answered after the event by professionals.

"Last year, we had 15 hundred people come to our event, and out of that, 32 people texting that they had addictions," says Lambert. "Within one week, we had placed 16 people in recovery programs."

Ms. Lambert and about 350 volunteers are ready to do it again.

Local health officials say The Counseling Center in Portsmouth has made it a point to keep beds ready for referrals from the Invasion, and several out-of-town agencies will be ready to transport others to other rehabilitation centers within days.

Look for coverage of the Invasion on 13 News at 6 and 11 on Saturday, and on www.wowktv.com.