People impacted by drug addiction discuss spike in drug overdoses in Licking County

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{ }The Licking County Health Department has alerted residents about an increase in drug overdoses. (WSYX/WTTE)

NEWARK, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- The Licking County Health Department has alerted residents about an increase in drug overdoses.

The alert comes after health officials noticed an increased in overdoses, overdose deaths, emergency room visits, and 911 calls requesting medical help throughout the county between June 8th and June 11th.

Susan Graham understands the impact of addiction. Her son became addicted to drugs and ended up in jail.

"I've planned his funeral. I mean I used to plan his funeral over and over again because I just didn't think he was going to make it,” said Graham.

Graham explains with help her son was able to get off of drugs, got out of jail, and now has a job.

"I told him I would help him in recovery, but I would not help him in his addiction."

Melissa Heisler said she used heroin for about a year before getting clean. She has been off of drugs for 18 months and said her journey is a reminder to other addicts they can beat their addiction.

"I just want to encourage people to continue, like once you go to meetings to still reach out and talk to somebody because anybody can do it, if I can,” said Heisler.

Heisler helped organized a rally against addiction in 2017 in downtown Newark and plans to do so again.

Licking County Health officials are urging people who either are using drugs or know someone who is to get naloxone. Health officials also urge people drug users to beware of the dangers of mixing drugs including stimulants and alcohol. Most importantly they urge addicts or family and friends of addicts to seek treatment.

Organizations like The Addict’s Parents United offer support for parents of addicted children. People looking for help and resources can contact the group through their website.