International Overdose Awareness Day event planned Saturday


Saturday marks International Overdose Awareness Day, and several people have organized an event to help complete that mission.

The event is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Crossroads Community Park in downtown Seymour.

This year’s event — the fifth — is being organized by Seymour High School student Luke Turner with Students Against Destructive Decisions, the Jackson County Drug-Free Council and School Resource Officer Keith Williams.

It will feature guest speakers, community resources, music, a memorial, a balloon release and more.

“This event is to remember those who we lost and to not let them be forgotten,” Jennifer Hopkins said. “I also want those with addiction to know they’re not alone and that there is a community who cares about them and genuinely wants to see them succeed.”

That’s why there will be community resources to those who want them, she said.

Hopkins, a board member with the drug-free council and an organizer of the event, said the speakers will include the Rev. Jonathan Purkhiser and Sue Carpenter. Hopkins said Carpenter lost her son to addiction four years ago and will share that story.

Hopkins, Dwight Hendrix and Scott Larrison, who make up Psalms 46:5 Ministries, will perform, Cassandra Collins will read a poem and Amanda Massengale will sing during the balloon release.

The balloon release is environmentally friendly as the balloons will be raised about 20 feet before being pulled back down, Hopkins said.

Hopkins herself has a compelling story of recovery as she battled an addiction to crystal methamphetamine for 16 years. Coincidentally, she became sober on International Overdose Awareness Day in 2015, so Saturday’s event will mark her fourth year of sobriety.

“That’s why this event is so important to me,” she said. “I did not plan my clean date on that day. It just happened. That day is really important to me.”

Hopkins said she has lost a lot of people to the disease, which has pushed her to become active in the local recovery community through the drug-free council, The Alley church and Double Down Outreach.

Hopkins said she tried everything to battle addiction, but a spiritual awakening led her to the path of sobriety.

A California native, she moved to Seymour to begin her new life as a sober person after living in Indianapolis for 11 years. She wants to serve as an example to others who are battling the same.

“With my recovery, I want to be a light to show people that it is possible and for those of us who have come out on the other side,” she said. “It’s beyond humbling, and I pray that people will see that they can do it, too.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

What: International Overdose Awareness Day

When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Crossroads Community Park in downtown Seymour

Details: Guest speakers, community resources, music, a memorial, a balloon release and more


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