Since Jan. 25, 2019, more than 70 community members have participated in creating solutions to the local substance abuse crisis. The UCO has developed partnerships with agencies across the region.
An exhibit dedicated to educating people on the drug epidemic in Indiana will open to the public Saturday at the Indiana State Museum.
“There is a lot of information, but unfortunately there’s also a lot of misinformation despite the fact that 43 million Americans are affected by this disease,” said Justin Phillips, executive director of Overdose Lifeline, a nonprofit she founded in Indiana after the death of her son from a heroin overdose in 2013.
Overdose Lifeline has run a grief support group for years. The boxing class is relatively new, and is open to people dealing with all kinds of grief.
Justin Phillips, a mother who lost her son to a drug overdose, partnered with agency Venables Bell & Partners, to start the #chooseempathy movement. She founded Overdose Lifeline to raise awareness that addiction is not a choice and requires empathetic responses.
Letcher said the program is in need of presenters and anyone interested may contact her to learn more. Presenters complete online trainings with support from Overdose Lifeline, Inc., and earn $100 per presentation.
“So much happened so fast . . . . It took a few years to come to some healing, and part of that is in sharing our story when called upon,” Don Pedigo said.
Director and founder of Overdose Lifeline Justin Philips says Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies have changed the culture in which doctors and patients deal with pain and it may be hard to change it back.
Requirements to become a trainer include completing online trainings and a remote training with Kourtnaye Sturgeon of Overdose Lifeline Inc. Trainers earn $100 per presentation.
“I have (spoken to) parents who have lost their children who felt the need to prosecute dealers,” said Justin Phillips, the founder of Indianapolis-based nonprofit Overdose Lifeline, who lost a son to a heroin overdose in 2013. “But I don’t think at the end of the day, they’re going to tell you that (it) changes the fact that their loved one is dead. This is a chronic disease of the brain. It’s a public health issue; it is not a criminal issue.”