International Overdose Awareness Day celebrated in Lafayette

People gathered on Sunday to celebrate International Overdose Awareness Day, though it isn’t officially happening until August 31st.

Posted: Aug 26, 2018 11:53 PM
Updated: Aug 27, 2018 1:30 AM

Lafayette, IND. (WLFI) - People gathered on Sunday to celebrate International Overdose Awareness Day, though it isn’t officially happening until August 31st.

The theme of the day was “A time to remember, a time to act.”

The “act” part of this slogan was honored by starting out the day at the Surf Center with free Narcan training. Narcan is the drug that can be administered to reverse the effects of a drug overdose. 

Donna Zoss, Training and Outreach Chair for the Drug Free Coalition of Tippecanoe County, led the training Sunday. 

Zoss said according to recent numbers, it's predicted that 72,000 people across the U.S. died of a drug overdose in 2017.

To put that into perspective, that is about the same population size as the city of Lafayette. Of those 72,000, it is predicted that 1,800 were from the Hoosier state.

This is why she said she feels these trainings are so important to over coming the overdose epidemice in our country.

"We will go over and train the individuals about the use of Naloxone is for and then they will leave with with a kit,” she said.

Much of this is thanks to Aaron’s Law. Before 2015, only emergency personnel could carry and administer the life-saving drug.

However since this new law passed three years ago, the public can now get prescriptions for Narcan to use on friends or family members who are at risk.

Zoss is also personally affected by this disease. She said they tried for three years to save her youngest son from this disease, but nothing seemed to help. He died when he was just 21 years old.

"If we can save one life, it's one life that we can restore and that makes it all worth it," she said.

“I've been doing these Narcan trainings now for 2 years I believe, and of the Narcan that we have distributed, I've known of three lives saved already here in Tippecanoe county,” she said proudly.

After the training, there was a time of remembrance at Munger Park. The time was set aside to show love and support for those who have died, those who have survived and those who may still be struggling.

Banners covered in more than 200 silver stars were also on display. Silver being the official color of overdose. Each star represented an overdose death in Tippecanoe County since 2010.

“It’s a major problem,” emphasized Zoss. “We like to think it doesn’t happen here in our community but it is no doubt here.”

Rhonda Stein of West Lafayette knows the grief of losing someone to this disease all to well.

“Six and a half years ago, Thomas James Stein the fifth, we called him TJ, he passed of his Xanex and Tramadol overdose," she said as she tried to hold back tears.

She doesn’t remember him as the son who struggled with drug addiction.

“He was the most fun loving spirit ever,” she said with a smile. “He played football and won just about every wrestling competition he was ever in. He brought a lot of joy to us and everyone else.”

She speaks out so that other mothers don’t have to go through the suffering she has. She believes one simple action could have saved her son’s life.

"We need good samaritan laws so that people aren't afraid to save another person’s life,” she said. “Because his life could have been saved if 911 would have been called."

One person's life was spared who attended the awareness day.

Grace Paton shared her story of addiction, that started when she was just 11 years old.
After years of struggling with the disease, she was able to overcome it. She said she has been sober since April 2016.

She now works for the Tippecanoe County Syringe Services Program helping others who have been in her shoes.

“I think it makes a big difference when you can say I've been where you are and I would be where you are right now if I hadn't fixed my life,” she said.

She now uses her family, especially her 17-month-old daughter Layla, as motivation to keep herself on track.

“I really want to work with moms and babies,” she said of her goals for the future. “Babies that are born with NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome), that are addicted to opioids, and helping moms transition in and out of the hospital as well. That would be my dream job.”

Now they are all fighting to make sure the death toll statistics from drug overdose deaths finally stops.

"We've done enough studying, we've done enough talking, it's time to act as our overdose awareness day is saying, it's time to act," said Stein.

West Lafayette
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 90°
Kokomo
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 88°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 84°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 84°
Williamsport
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 90°
Crawfordsville
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 85°
Frankfort
Overcast
88° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 89°
Delphi
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 88°
Monticello
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 88°
Logansport
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 88°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 45952

Reported Deaths: 2650
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11387679
Lake4872240
Elkhart308543
Allen2677114
St. Joseph184965
Cass16369
Hamilton1484100
Hendricks136699
Johnson1235118
Porter68537
Madison64363
Tippecanoe6408
Clark62244
Bartholomew57844
Howard54356
LaPorte53925
Kosciusko4952
LaGrange4596
Jackson4553
Noble44728
Vanderburgh4306
Hancock42935
Delaware42648
Boone42242
Shelby41625
Marshall4123
Floyd36344
Morgan32031
Montgomery28720
Grant28526
Clinton2792
Dubois2606
White25810
Monroe25628
Decatur24632
Henry23515
Lawrence23124
Vigo2248
Harrison20822
Dearborn20422
Warrick20129
Greene18431
Miami1802
Jennings16911
Putnam1658
DeKalb1594
Scott1547
Daviess13916
Orange13323
Wayne1286
Franklin1248
Steuben1232
Perry1209
Ripley1127
Carroll1092
Jasper1092
Wabash1072
Fayette967
Newton9510
Whitley814
Randolph764
Starke733
Huntington702
Wells681
Jay670
Fulton661
Jefferson651
Washington641
Pulaski631
Knox620
Clay594
Rush573
Benton480
Adams451
Owen451
Gibson442
Sullivan441
Brown381
Blackford372
Posey350
Spencer311
Tipton301
Crawford290
Fountain292
Switzerland250
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike80
Unassigned0194

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events