Overdose Awareness Day Event Planned in Starke County

Overdose awareness
The ribbons on the lawn at IU Health Starke Hospital represent local victims of overdoses over the past seven years.

Starke County holds the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of average accidental poisoning by exposure to drugs, medications and biological substances in 2009 and 2010. That’s according to mortality data from the Indiana State Department of Health. Local leaders are working to raise awareness of the problem. They’ve placed 61 ribbons on the lawn at IU Health Starke Hospital – one for each of the lives lost to drug overdose over the past seven years. The Moving Starke County Forward Substance Abuse Committee, Drug and Tobacco Free Starke County, Porter-Starke Services and IU Health Starke Hospital are also hosting an overdose awareness event later this month. It will take place on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. at Wythogan Park in Knox. That’s International Overdose Awareness Day.

Thousands of people worldwide will stand alongside friends and family members of fatal overdose victims to reflect on the lives lost. Organizers say no one should feel shame or disgrace over a drug overdose. The local event will include a candlelight vigil, education and information about an opiate antagonist used for the complete or partial recovery from a drug overdose and testimony from a community member in recovery.

The event will give all who have been affected a chance to publicly mourn and help the community understand how fatal overdose profoundly affects mainstream society. The day also serves as a warning that all drugs can be dangerous and no one is immune to overdose. Family and friends are encouraged to attend and bring a photo to honor their loved one. Tributes may also be submitted in advance through the Moving Starke County Forward Facebook page or via email at akochar@porterstarke.org. They will be shared at the event.