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Display recalls drug deaths

Eileen JoyceBrittany Grebens adjusts a cardboard gravestone in the Hope House yard after it was blown over by the wind Wednesday. House residents made the graves to remind people of the costs of drug and alcohol addiction.
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Heroin killed Janis Joplin. Sleeping pills were blamed for the deaths of Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe.

Painted black-and-white, their cardboard epitaphs are staked in the corner of Hope House1s lawn on Bennett Street in Grass Valley.

3Oh, we forgot Billie Holiday. Heroin,² program director Kristina Perales said.



While not exactly a 3Happy Halloween² greeting, women at the residential drug treatment center hope it creates awareness of the ultimate pitfall of drug abuse.

The display also includes names of local women claimed by overdoses and drug-related problems.




3We could1ve filled the whole yard with friends of ours, no problem,² Perales said.

Client Shelley Elliott said many passersby have stopped to read the names.

3It1s pretty cool,² said client Brittany Grebens.

The idea came from Beth Sanders, a former client turned staff member at the house, which serves women addicts while giving them and their children a place to stay.

3I just wanted to bring a little bit of reality,² she said. 3We live in a part of Grass Valley that has a lot of (drug) activity, both recovery and otherwise.²

Sanders painted the signs with teens who live at the house, and she knew two of the women memorialized. One died of an overdose, and the other was in the throes of addiction when she was murdered, Sanders said. 3It was sad, it was emotional, but it was also very healing.²

For Halloween tonight, candles will illuminate the headstones as children visit the house. Perales promised that trick-or-treaters will not get lectures with their candy.

3We want them to come back,² she said with a laugh.


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