There were 21 reported deaths from heroin overdoses last year in Centre County, according to the county’s Drug and Alcohol Office.
To date, five heroin-related deaths have been reported in 2017 — the first occurred within the first two days of the new year.
On Wednesday night, a remembrance ceremony and addiction resource fair was hosted by the Centre County HOPE Initiative at the American Philatelic Society.
The HOPE — Heroin and Opioid Prevention Education — Initiative is a collaborative organization with the mission to help target the heroin and opioid epidemic by spreading awareness and creating community outreach.
Cathy Arbogast, of the Drug and Alcohol Office and the HOPE Initiative, said the event was among a series of programs to help connect those affected by addiction to the best options for their needs.
Four town hall-type events were held within the past year.
But Wednesday marked the first open house-type event, which allowed the public to interact with law enforcement and legal organizations, health care facilities and treatment centers, and more.
There was also a session for people to share personal stories, and a ceremony to remember those who died.
“We held many of the town hall meetings, but got feedback where people felt their questions weren’t answered, so we wanted to create something that was designed to help people ask the questions they want and get the answers they’re looking for in a setting that is more one-on-one,” Arbogast said.
To help with addiction problems, Arbogast said underlying factors must first be identified and then limited.
Common factors include trauma, negative life experiences and risky behavior, she said.
“Recovery is possible for everyone,” Arbogast said. “It’s just important to know the need of the individual because the path to recovery is different.”