Candlelight vigil honors those who died of drug overdoses

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – The CDC reported that there were over 93,000 fatal overdoses in 2020. August is Overdose Awareness Month and the Evansville Recovery Alliance hosted a candlelight vigil where they informed the public about the importance of Narcan.

Cathy Melton lost her son to an overdose and volunteered at the event. She said, “Narcan is one of the life saving tools that will reverse an overdose in opioids. My son – I lost my son. He was 17. To a heroin overdose. Had Narcan been available then he very well could have been saved. So that is something that people don’t quite well understand – the use of Narcan, it is one of those things that is life saving measures for these people.”

Jonna Meyers also lost her son last September. She said, “Narcan can save lives and it’s so important for mothers, sisters, brothers, friends to pack Narcan because it can save a life in an instant.”

The group set up a booth in Haynie’s Corner where volunteers explained how it can save a life and they handed out free Narcan to anyone who wanted it.

Samantha Haas attended the vigil to learn more about the drug overdose pandemic and how to help. “I was over there and she was educating me on Narcan. How to use it, what to look for when you see somebody who could’ve possibly overdosed. It’s definitely something I want to be more involved in and educated on,” said Haas.

Many people who lost family members to drug overdoses shared their stories and memorabilia. They were able to honor their memories while others came to show support.

“It’s encouraging to see others out here wanting to help and have empathy for a situation that maybe they haven’t gone through,” added Haas.

The families stressed the importance of learning more about how they can help those who use drugs.

“Treat those who use drugs as people, not as less than or inferior,” added Melton.

“That’s what I’d like everyone to know. Drug addicts are not bad people they just have a bad problem,” said Meyers.

The group said Narcan is legal in Indiana and anyone who would like some should reach out to the Evansville Recovery alliance on Facebook. Send them a message and they said they will meet you and give it to you.

If you or someone you know need assistance, you may find the Evansville Recovery Alliance here.

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