FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – As the opiate crisis gets worse, those affected most by it are stepping out of the dark. Thursday was International Overdose Awareness Day, and families who’ve been affected by addiction came out to support each other.
It was a first of its kind event in Allen County, a gathering of families who have lost someone because of addiction. Organizers like the Lutheran Foundation, Allen County Department of Health and even some families members of addicts helped organize it.
Aleeyah Herport didn’t want her classmates to know how her mom died after she passed away from a heroin overdose. Then, the 11-year-old started writing. She wrote a poem called ‘God’s Garden.’
“I wrote the poem, and that was kind of my way of telling them how she died,” Aleeyah said.
Aleeyah isn’t the only one stepping out of the dark and looking for support.
“I went through a lot of depression after he died, and I felt really alone and felt like I couldn’t reach out to anybody,” Kayla Overbay said.
Overbay lost her daughters’ father to addiction, and felt the same way as Aleeyah. She and Aleeyah attended Thursday’s event at Lutheran Park and Gardens. There was a balloon release, candlelight vigil and moment of silence for those lost to addiction.
Organizers hope the large group helps fight the stigma of addiction.
“I’ve been talking to people and each one has a story, and I hope this helps them with their healing,” Lutheran Foundation CEO Marcia Haaff said.