CRUSH THE CRISIS: Community discusses opioid epidemic - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

CRUSH THE CRISIS: Community discusses opioid epidemic

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According to the CDC, the opioid crisis is getting worse by the day. Experts say at least 144 people die daily in the United States from overdose.

Here in Iowa a group is trying to find a solution to stop the problem. 'CRUSH the Crisis: A Community Discussion on the Opioid Epidemic' was held at Hawkeye Community College today in an effort to spark conversation about how the community can help eastern Iowans affected by addiction.

Addiction can happen to anyone.

"There is such a stigma in the world today about addiction, it can affect anybody and just know there are people out there to help us," Kim Shonka, Independence.

Help can found right here in eastern Iowa and dozens gathered for an today's event to do just that.

"Being here is the first step," said April Dorman, Shonka's daughter. "You're learning and that's all you can do, is just to keep yourself out there learning and seeking knowledge about what we can do as a community to fight this."

Shonka saw first hand what heroin and opioids can do. A year ago, her son 24-year-old Nic Shonka overdosed.

"Nic was somebody, he was our son, he was a brother, a boyfriend, a grandson and a friend and he was a good person...he didn't chose this world, it just happened," said Shonka. "Now there are so many resources out there and I just want people to know that there is help and if you know someone, be an advocate for them and help them find the way."

The Crush the Crisis event provided information and options for people suffering with addiction and also provided support for families.

"I don't want people to be ashamed of their story and be able to reach out and say, 'I do need help and don't judge me because someone I know is fighting this addiction'," said Shonka.

The event offered Narcan training and an open discussion about how to stop the opioid epidemic.

"Now knowing what we do know, we want to make sure that we empower people to take action and help the person that is suffering because it's preventable and we can help," said Dorman.

"This is happening, this is a problem and we need to do something about it," said Shonka.

Some people who are in recovery tell KWWL they urge people to get help, saying it's a tough thing to beat, but it is worth the fight.

Crush the Crisis event was sponsored by Pathways Behavioral Services

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