PEORIA, Ill. — Thursday, Jolt hosted an intimate discussion at the Peoria Public Library North Branch.
Some attendees have previous personal or family-related experience with opioids.
The Jolt Foundation is committed to drug awareness and keeping our community as safe as possible.
It was established by Blake and Tamara Olt after the death of their 16-year-old son Joshua. He died from an accidental heroin overdose on April 29, 2012.
His parents vowed not to let his death be in vain and find a way to make a difference in other people’s lives.
The foundation promotes harm reduction which involves programs and policies that aim to reduce the risk associated with drug use. These steps are taken while acknowledging that despite efforts to cease drug use as a whole people will continue to use drugs because they are unwilling or unable to stop.
Program director, Chris Schaffner, said the stigma surrounding drugs keeps addicts from seeking help which increases the number of lives lost to overdose.
Most people we encounter when we let them know that we see them and accept them as they are they’re willing to reach out for help. They’re willing to tell us what their needs are, but so often they’re met with guilt shame or abuse so they’re not willing to be honest or vulnerable with people about their struggle so they don’t get the help they need.Chris Schaffner, Jolt Foundation program director
Schaffner said a lot of people are concerned that they are enabling and encouraging drug use. People also believe this program will bring crime and drug use into their community making their neighborhood less safe then it was before.
He said drug use actually decreases in the area because people are more likely to enter treatment of their own through a harm reduction program. Schaffner urges people to be more open-minded.
If anyone is in need of help, Jolt Harm Reduction is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s located at 1411 NE Adams St, Peoria, IL 61603.