BY SHERI TRUSTY
As of early August, seven people had lost their lives to overdose in Ottawa County this year, but that number could change at any moment. To help honor those lives and highlight the resources available to help prevent more needless deaths, the Ottawa County Prevention Coalition will host Overdose Awareness Day on Wednesday, Aug. 31.
In an effort to make the event accessible to more people, event organizers made changes to the annual event’s location and time. This year’s Overdose Awareness Day will take place at the Meals on Madison (M.O.M.) area in downtown Port Clinton. The public program will run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to better accommodate event goers’ work schedules.
“This event is for everyone,” said Michelle Veliz, the Ottawa County Health Department Health Educator and Public Information Specialist. “Activities will be available for children, multiple agencies will be providing resources, and we encourage individuals to come and connect.”
The purpose of the event is to remember those that Ottawa County lost to overdose, support those who are still fighting addiction, raise awareness, and provide resources and education on addiction.
“Our biggest goal is to help raise awareness and to help guide individuals to all the resources that Ottawa County has ready to help,” Veliz said. “We want people to know that if they are struggling or if their family member or loved one is struggling with mental health issues or substance use, help exists here in Ottawa County.”
During the event, Port Clinton residents Jared Cook, Ryan Clifton and Damion Tall will share their personal stories of recovery. Other guest speakers are Trevor Johnson of the Ottawa County Drug Abuse Response Team and Ottawa County Sheriff Stephen Levorchick. Speakers will form a panel discussion and take questions from the audience.
The event will include raffle prizes, giveaways and refreshments.