INDIANAPOLIS – The opioid epidemic is a problem that has plagued the country for years. It’s a problem that Indianapolis isn’t immune to.
Nearly 1,000 people overdosed in Marion County last year, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Indy. Fentanyl deaths were a majority of those.
That’s one of the reasons Overdose Lifelineis working to raise awareness about the dangers of Fentanyl.
"I remember they asked me, 'If you overdose for the third time you're not going to make it. What do you want us to tell your family?' And I said you don't have to tell them anything. If you get a call for a third overdose don't come,” Nate Moellering said.
Moellering faced drug addiction for years, fighting to stay sober is his everyday reality.
“One is too many, a thousand is never enough. I know I could always have that one pill because it be enough, but I know it will run out,” Moellering said.
Michael Gannon from Indy DEA says the fight to stay clean is the reality many in Marion County face daily.
“Here in Marion County in 2022 there were about 850 drug overdose deaths. About 826 of those were from fentanyl or opioid related,” Gannon said.
That’s why overdose lifeline and the Marion County Public Health Department created billboards to be apart of the solution to save lives.
"I don't think we have any other choice. The only way we stop people from dying unnecessarily is to be a part of the solution,” Justin Phillips, the President and CEO of the Overdose Lifeline said.
The billboards each printed with the words, “testing your drugs for fentanyl can save your life.”
The goal of the billboard program is to meet drug users where they are, helping to stop the overdose deaths from continuing to rise.
For people like Moellering he hopes people take time to read the billboards knowing that when you’re struggling it helps to know that someone cares.
“You life has a purpose even if you are struggling,” Moellering said. Overdose Lifeline says the campaign is expected to run for the next three months.
The organization says they have received more requests forfentanyl test strips since the campaign started.
The billboards can be found at several locations:
- 300 Meridian St S 0.5 mi S/O Hanna Av WS
- 475 Franklin Rd S 750 ft S/O Washington St ES
- 542 Post Rd S 200 ft
- 2975 Moller Rd
- 2900 Shadeland Av N
- 2202 Meridian St S
- 1004 Tibbs Av N 50 ft N/O 10th St WS