Advocates and community members will pause tomorrow evening to remember the 61 lives lost to drug overdoses in the past seven years in Starke County. Aaron Kochar is a substance abuse counselor at Porter-Starke Services. He says methamphetamine used to be the biggest drug problem locally, but opioids and heroin have caught up.
Kochar says drug use is a significant problem.
“From 2008 to 2012, Starke County averaged eight deaths a year from substance use overdose. In 2013 it went up to 12 deaths. Now these numbers vary a lot, and in fact in 2014 it dropped to four. One is too many, and with this community it is a very significant impact.”
Kochar adds taking the stigma out of seeking help for substance abuse problems is critical. He says substance abuse is a disease and should be treated as any other medical condition or disease is treated.
Starke County’s Overdose Awareness event will take place at 6 p.m. tomorrow at Wythogan Park. It will include a candlelight vigil, education and testimony from a community member in recovery. Members of the public are welcome to attend.