IVCC Hosts Addiction Awareness Event

Matthew Klein, IV Leader Reporter

     The IVCC College and Diversity Team hosted an “Overdose and Awareness Pre- sentation” on Thursday, Nov. 1.

     Buddy’s Purpose and their Dare2Care Team presented to students and faculty members about addiction, specifically heroin overdoses, and the stigma attached to them. Buddy’s Purpose’s mission is to educate our community on drug abuse, support the addict and their families and offer sup- port to those left behind after a substance related death.

     Lori Brown, a co-founder of Buddy’s Purpose, lost her son Justin “Buddy” Pratt on Nov. 11, 2011, due to a heroin overdose. Buddy had struggled with addiction for 10 years.

     Brown stated, “One of the saddest aspects of his addiction was how it eventually turned him into someone he never wanted to become and others didn’t want to be around. A year before Justin died, I began to realize his illness and resent the lying, manipulating person his addiction transformed him into. I held a longing hope he would some day defeat his demons and go on live a
healthy and fulfilling life.” 

     After this, she then met Julie Wendorf who lost her son to addiction as well, and they went on to form Buddy’s Purpose. 

     Julie Wendorf, a co-founder of Buddy’s Purpose, also lost her son Christopher Wendorf, on July 5, 2011, due to an overdose. 

     Julie believes mental health issues that were never addressed drove his addiction. “There was a reason he used (drugs) to begin with. We never addressed it.” Wendorf said. 

      “He didn’t know how to share it with me, and I didn’t know where to turn with him. Chris didn’t want anyone to believe that he was ill.” 

     Debbie Hallam, the founder of Dusty Roads, also presented about her organization and how she lost her son, Dustin Hallam, due to an overdose in Feb. of 2014. 

     Her organization helps addicts and their families in Streator, and surrounding communities, to get on the road to recovery. 

     Haleigh Rose, a recovering addict, also spoke about her journey and what she believes causes addiction. 

     At one point, she stated, ““I lost my job. I lost my nursing license. I lost my house. I stayed active in addiction for a year.”

     Today, Rose is proud to be sober for around 20 months. She regained her nursing license and attends Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings regularly.

     By these local organizations teaming up, and by collaborating with other local groups such as The Perfectly Flawed Foundation, a new way to tackle addiction can be achieved.