ECU and Ada community team up to raise awareness for substance abuse

ADA, OK -- According to the Oklahoma State Health Department 81 percent of deaths in the state, from 2007 to 2011, involved some type of prescription drug. Saturday, the community will shine some light on the issue in an effort to save lives.

"The Brandon Whitten Institute and the Pontotoc County Drug Free Coalition host an event every year called Step Out of the Darkness," said Holli Witherington, Executive Director at The Brandon Whitten Institute. "So this is our third year to host this event, and we've had a great turnout every year. We typically have about 500 people come march and participate in the rally afterwards."

Cheryl Yott knows how devastating substance abuse can be to a family, and says this event not only helps those suffering from addiction but their families, as well.

"It shows them that we recognize the problem, and we want to support to the family, the person that has the addiction, or in recovery," Yott said. "We're here to support them."

The event begins with a march 10:30 am at the Pontotoc County Courthouse Plaza and ends at ECU's Centennial Plaza, and there will be plenty of counselors on hand to help.

"We will give you phone numbers, we'll tell you where to go come Monday morning, we'll even deal with it that day if it's that important," said Clinical Supervisor at Ada Area Chemical Dependency Center, Marcus Pogue. "We're there and it's our job...just walk up to us and ask us."

Pogue says many people who deal with substance abuse isolate themselves from others.

"If you come out and get help, there is help," Pogue said. "There is that strong possibility to recover. You can live a better life. You don't have to live the life you've lived."


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