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Community observes International Overdose Awareness Day at Columbian Park

Dozens of people gathered at Columbian Park to observe International Overdose Awareness Day.

Posted: Aug 30, 2020 10:15 PM
Updated: Aug 30, 2020 11:15 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- It's International Overdose Awareness Day. This event is the kick-off to National Recovery Month in September.

"People are quarantining, people are locked in their homes, you have an uprise in anxiety and stress and you know it's still going on," said Kristina Lesley, Director of the Drug-Free Coalition of Tippecanoe County.

While the nation is slowing down during the Covid-19 pandemic, substance-abuse isn't. That's why Drug-Free Coalition of Tippecanoe County leaders say this year's Overdose Awareness Day is particularly important.

"The goal of this event is to provide support to individuals who have lost ones to overdoses and then also to educate the public so we can start reducing some of the social stigmas that are attached to a substance use disorder," said Donna Zoss, Co-Chair of the Drug-Free Coalition.

Zoss said the theme of this event is a time to remember and a time to act. Part of the event included learning CPR and how to administer naloxone, a life-saving drug that can revive someone who has overdosed. Another part included a moment of silence to remember the local lives lost from an overdose.

"In 2019, in Tippecanoe County, there were 21 documented drug overdose deaths, in the state of Indiana it's 1,600 and some," said Zoss.

Tony Schabel, a father who lost his daughter to an overdose this February was invited to speak at this year's event. He talked about why he believes his faith is a solution to the overdose pandemic.

"The problem that these kids and that these people are facing are spiritual issues that can't be met any other way than from a spiritual God," said Schabel.

Those in attendance were county health leaders as well as people impacted by substance abuse. Zoss hopes this event serves as a reminder that recovery is possible.

"A life saved is one that can then be treated and many of these people or most all of these people that are suffering from substance use disorder have gifts and talents which they have not had the opportunity to fully develop," said Zoss.

In honor of Overdose Awareness Day, the Tippecanoe County Courthouse is glowing purple. Purple is the national color that represents recovery.

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