Changing lives by lending a hand

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Debbie Campiti knows the heartbreak of losing a child. Now, she wants to help families so they don’t have to go through what she did.

The Nick Willard Live Again Foundation is named after Campiti’s son, who died this past Christmas of a heroin overdose.

The goal of the foundation, Campiti told the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, is to help people get a new start, just as Willard was trying to do for the nine months he resided in Atlanta at Stepping Stones sober living.

The foundation hopes to provide a new environment for people, to get them away from the people and things in their lives that can help fuel an addiction. Whether that’s paying for an airline ticket or the first month’s rent of a new place to live, the mission is to get someone a new start in a sober living facility away from the the triggers that can push someone back to using.

Campiti initially plans to raise money for the foundation through a 5K run and possible grants.

“I couldn’t save my son’s life,” Campiti said, “but if I could save one life it’s worth it.”

The Tribune noted that St. Joseph County and other communities across Indiana have been battling opioid addictions for years, but things are improving. Following an all-time high in drug overdose deaths in Indiana in 2017, the state saw a 26 percent decrease in total deaths in 2018.

Locally, five Oneida County residents have died from heroin overdoses in the past two weeks, and law enforcement officials from across the county have come together to warn of a possible deadly strain of heroin on the streets.

There have been 21 total reported heroin overdoses over the same time period. The exact cause of the spike has not yet been determined, but officials said they were alerted to the problem thanks to their Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program.

Efforts that help reduce overdose deaths, including things like the Nick Willard Live Again Foundation, can help.

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