A community event to bring addiction and overdose awareness and how it is affecting Livingston County and the country is coming to Howell.

Thursday, August 31st is National Drug Overdose Awareness Day. Project Hope, which stemmed from Project Opiate, is holding an all-day event from 8am until 4pm that day at Cleary University entitled “United to Change.” Event organizers have invited many stakeholders to discuss what they think is important and what the community needs to be aware of when it comes to serious drug matters.

53rd District Court Administrator Francine Zysk sympathizes with friends and family who love someone who is affected by addiction. She said that you can read about it in a book and educate yourself as best you can, but you don’t really understand the problems until you yourself are an enabler or are being lied to and manipulated by someone using. She said that people often think they should know better than the lies they’re being told, but that’s when you start to understand that the person you care about is not doing it intentionally, and that addiction is a disease. United to Change is ideal for people who have faced this.

Speaking at the event will be local law enforcement, the Michigan State Police, medical examiners, and substance abuse professionals. Real calls to 911 will be shared and powerful clips from movies will be shown that highlight the realities of overdose. There will be presentations on the Big Red Barrel and an opportunity to partake in Naloxone training. Attendees will receive a bag filled with an extensive information packet and tools to help those who may face addictions. A drug cup that recognizes seven different drugs and a prescription bottle timer that reveals the last time a bottle top was removed are among the devices included.

The event is free, but limited to the first 150 people who sign up. You can register online through the link below. (MK)