Recovered addict to hold Saturday rally against drug addiction stigma | Local News

It took Dorian Petranech 12 years to find the approach she needed to kick her addiction.

On Saturday, Petranech will be paying forward what she learned: She and her son will host a rally to fight drug addiction stigma at Central Square in Keene.

It’s a cause Petranech says has taken on particular significance; the response to a recent Facebook photo of a man on a Keene bench with an apparent needle in his arm exposed what Petranech says are misconceptions about addicts.

At her rally Saturday, she’s hoping to combat some of the stereotypes.

“I’m calling it an awareness rally,” she said. “I’m trying to bring awareness to the fact that people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol need help, not judgment and criticism.”

For Petranech, 36, the fight is personal. She became addicted in her teenage years, drawn to drugs and alcohol at a young age due to childhood physical and sexual abuse and trauma. After trying different treatment methods for years, she finally decided to try trauma treatment last year, and has finally managed to stay clean.

Her own struggle opened her eyes to others’. But Petranech has also pursued the issue academically, earning an associate’s degree in chemical dependency and a bachelor’s in psychology, both from Keene State College. Originally from Milwaukee, Wis., Petranech toured the country in her late teens, coming to Keene after her mother moved to the area.

Petranech said she was initially reluctant to take to public activism, but soon came around.

“I kept saying ‘We’ll wait, we’ll wait,’ but after that I was like ‘Wait for what?’ ” she said. “We need to start doing stuff and start helping now. People are dying. Another friend of mine died last week.”

And she said that the misconceptions need to be addressed. Addiction is not a choice, Petranech says, and New Hampshire…

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