Mock overdose raises awareness for community of severity of drug epidemic

Mock overdose raises awareness for community of severity of drug epidemic

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It's a new concept that was created as a way to drive home the severity of our drug epidemic.

"I need some help," said a security guard acting out an overdose. "I just found her in the parking lot she was passed out unconscious."

Shocking visuals played out for community members during a mock overdose Thursday night at the Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber of Commerce heroin forum.

Community members sat in shock as they watched four potential overdose scenarios unfold before them.

"Very impactful and very realistic," said Lorrie Lewandowski, associate director of Wood County alcohol drug addiction mental health services board. "And certainly a reality."

"The skit just hit home," said Fran Tscherne, a community member in the crowd Thursday night. "It was just so real for me."

Fran lost a nephew to heroin just this past summer. She says although it was fake, it brought her back to that moment.

"I was sitting there crying just like that night because I know how true it is," Tscherne said. "Once they are gone, they're gone."

This was the first time ProMedica Flower Hospital has performed their mock overdose outside the hospital. They say the drug epidemic has major implications in their ER and psychiatric hospital. This re-enactment helps others see what they do daily.

"It's the emotional impact and the education," said Julie Kookoothe, director of inpatient psychiatry at ProMedica Flower Hospital. "We're looking for them to understand what are the resources in the community. What is the effect on the healthcare providers and to kind of see what it is for real."

Those at the hospital hope by watching, community members will better understand the issue and call medical professionals immediately. They want to see a change. That's why they joined the Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber of Commerce at their community forum.

"I've been working in the treatment field for nine years and I've never seen it as bad as it is right now," said Nate Kehlmeier, a recovering addict and member of Team Recovery.

"I don't wish this on any parent," shared Laurie Clemons, who lost her son to an overdose. "This heartache in unbearable. I think the most important thing right now we all have to do is educate ourselves, our families and others so we can break the stigma."

Former addicts, affected family members, and law enforcement came together to begin a conversation in hopes of changing the future of the drug epidemic.

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