CLINTON, Iowa — The crisis of drug addiction in America continues to escalate, as drug overdose deaths have more than quadrupled in the last two decades with more than 100,000 deaths every year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Now, resources in the Quad Cities area are offering to help combat the epidemic.
The 5th annual Overdose and Addiction Awareness Vigil was held at the Clinton Bandshell Wednesday, Aug. 31, where more than two-dozen organizations were on hand to share information and stories about the health struggles told by first responders and survivors.
"We want you to know that you're not alone," event co-chair and addiction survivor Kayla Pruett said. "People are dying; fathers, mothers, children," Pruett said.
"We're just hoping that people find what it is they're needing," Amanda Asay with Life Connections said. "Reaching out for help takes a lot of courage and people understand that. People in this profession understand that."
After turning to resources and caring people during her own addiction battle, Pruett is now on a mission to help others overcome theirs.
"In 2017, I fell into the depths of addiction," Pruett said. "I fell in with the wrong crowd and in a matter of weeks, I was a full-blown addict."
"I do everything I can to give back to the community now that I'm in a better place," she added.
Organizers said area hospitals have seen an increase in the amount of substance abuse cases from 2019 to 2022.
"We're definitely here to make a change however that may be," Pruett said. "We want to empower our community and show that everybody that was once an addict is not a continuous bad person."
"Recovery is absolutely possible," Asay said.
The event was hosted by community resource Clinton CRUSH+.