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‘Facing Addiction’ hopes to build awareness about drug epidemic in Delaware County

DELAWARE COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — A community program is hoping to build awareness about the ongoing drug epidemic in Delaware County.

The Muncie Police Chief told 24-Hour News 8 so far this year 10 people have died from an overdose.

Dozens of people attended the “Facing Addiction” program Wednesday evening at the Cornerstone Center for the Arts in Muncie.

In the dark auditorium, a light shines bright on students from Ball State University. One by one they took the stage sharing stories of other people affected in some way shape or form by addiction.

The program is part of The Facing Project and the university’s Ingelhart Scholars Program.

Merea Osthagen sat in the audience. She said the stories hit close to home.

“I have a lot of addicts in the family and I’m a recovering addict as well,” Osthagen shared.

In Muncie so far this year, police said they responded to 150 calls for overdoses and of that number, 10 resulted in death.

“I have done a few different things but I just resorted to meth for the energy and then it just became a constant thing for me,” said Osthagen. “It was something to help me get up and go all the time.”

This has been a long journey for Osthagen. She said her wakeup call came when she lost her kids.

“I just kept on and kept on and then I lost everything, my home, and then my children are in foster care now so it’s been rough,” she said.

But she’s moving forward, starting a new chapter and celebrating a milestone.

“I’ve been clean for over 60 days and every day is a miracle for me,” said Osthagen.

Osthagen said she’s hoping people will walk away from the “Facing Addiction” program with a better understanding for life.

“You don’t think people would come out to these things because they’re like, oh well, all these addicts are pieces of junk,” she said. “They just do what they do to ruin lives and their own and everything but that’s not true.”

She said behind every face there’s a story.

“There’s a bigger story behind it and for them to come out and see things like this it can kind of help them realize that we are people and we do have feelings and sometimes our feelings get the best of us and that’s why we resort to doing other things,” said Osthagen

Click here to learn more about The Facing Project.

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