Socorro residents turned out in droves to take part in the Overdose Awareness Walk
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain photos

More than 100 Socorro residents gathered at the city plaza on Tuesday to capture community attention with the inaugural Overdose Awareness Walk.

The brainchild of resident Samantha Stidstone, the walk comes in part as a response to the June 26 fentanyl overdose death of 17-year-old Jordan Baldonado, a Socorro High School student. In April 2021, 16-year-old student Tomas Rosales Jr. died in a similar incident.

The two students aren’t the only ones to lose their lives to drug overdoses. A sign being carried by a woman from the Alamo Navajo Reservation contained a shocking eight names.

SCCAP/DWI, the SCOPE Health Council, Socorro Farmers Market, and community members hosted the 6 p.m. walk. Stidstone’s efforts got the ball rolling because she feels strongly about the situation unfolding in her city.

“There’s been a lot of tragedies and a lot of overdose deaths in Socorro. I feel like the community needs a lot of awareness about this problem, so it’s not getting swept under the rug,” Stidstone said.

Stidstone works for Herron Solutions, which provides high-level, evidence-based therapy and support services for individuals, and she has witnessed some of those tragedies firsthand.

“It’s comprehensive community support, and what we do is we integrate people from questionable lifestyles back into mainstream society,” fellow Herron Solutions employee and organizer Joshua Williams said. “This whole thing got going with Samantha, myself and Jason Frame. She said I have this feeling in my heart. We need to do something about this crisis. We all sat down, and Samantha painted this picture of what she wanted it to be like. We decided to make this picture real, and that’s what we have here.”

The marchers prepared picket signs before they began the walk, and most of them were in remembrance of a loved one who had lost their life to a drug overdose. Also available was the opioid antagonist NARCAN and instructional information on its use.

Marching behind a homemade Overdose Awareness banner, the participants left the plaza escorted by the Socorro County Sheriff’s Department deputies. They made their way down to California Street and walked down to Wall Street before turning around and coming back up to California to the plaza.

As the group remained at the plaza talking about their experiences, Frame summoned up his thoughts of the event and what he hoped people would be talking about later.

“I hope that they’re talking about Uncle Joe, who’s got a problem, and maybe we can get him to go over and talk to somebody and get some help,” Frame said. “We want people we care about them, and we want them to hang around for a while. I hope they talk to that family member who needs help and know we want to help them.”

Community members gathered at the historic city plaza for the Overdose Awareness walk. Before starting many prepared signs to honor the loved ones they have lost to drug overdoses.