ELYRIA — Lorain County Community College’s Care Center and Care Club held the fourth annual Black Balloon Day at noon Wednesday. Black balloons were given away to people in honor of loved one who died due to opioids.
Elaine Georgas, executive director of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County, spoke at the event.
“Today is the day to come together to understand that each of us has a role to save lives, particularly during this opioid epidemic,” she said.
Attendees who received balloons, some of whom brought photos of their deceased love ones, were asked to display them on the outside of their homes to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic and the deaths it has caused.
Georgas said the number of accidental deaths from opioid overdoses is decreasing, but there’s still a lot of work ahead to end the epidemic.
Georgas said addiction needs to be treated as a chronic disease that attacks the mind. And like a disease, she said, people must factor in the individual and mental aspects of each case to ensure a healthy recovery.
This can be done in small ways like avoiding words that perpetuate the stigma against substance disorders. For example, instead of saying junkie or user, refer to them as a person in active addiction or person with substance abuse disorder, she said. Instead of clean or sober, terms like addiction-free or in remission are preferable.
It may be a small change, she said, but it can go a long way toward effecting real change in the opioid epidemic and other forms of substance abuse.