Sunday Vigil to Mark International Overdose Awareness Day

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

Moving Starke County Forward is trying to take the stigma out of drug overdoses with a Sunday evening event at Wythogan Park in Knox. Advocates and community members will remember the 61 lives lost in Starke County with a candlelight vigil and share information about the perils and pitfalls of drug use. Jordan Morris from Starke County Community Corrections says people who use drugs are less likely to be aware of the potential consequences of their actions. She  says common rationalizations include “I know my limit” or “I always test what I get first, so I know the strength of it.” She adds mixing different types of drugs can often prove fatal.

Michael Hookman is a recovering addict. He says it takes hitting “a very extreme” bottom to realize there is a problem. Hookman admits he thought he knew his limits and was immune to becoming a statistic.

“Very many times I did come close to death, and even after that I still never did think death would happen to me. Luckily I got out before it did,” Hookman said.

Morris says the first step to recovery is admitting to having a problem. She says treatment options vary from inpatient residential services to weekly relapse prevention groups. Medication management is also a viable option for some people.

Sunday’s event starts at 6 p.m. It 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 They will be shared at the event.