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Ivy Tech's Valparaiso campus stock

The Ivy Tech campus in Valparaiso. 

VALPARAISO — With education, resources and support in its arsenal, Ivy Tech is offering help in the fight against opioid addiction.

Ivy Tech Community College's Valparaiso campus is sponsoring an Opioid Awareness and Wellness Seminar, an Ivy Tech news release said.

From 9 a.m. to noon March 21, there will be speakers, vendors and a Q&A session on campus at 3100 Ivy Tech Drive in Valparaiso.

The event will focus on introducing methods of overcoming addiction and alternatives to opioids, the news release said. The seminar will be free and open to the public, high school-age or older.

“It’s no secret that Northwest Indiana suffers from an opioid epidemic that has claimed the lives of so many individuals,” Brandy Maurushes, life coach at the campus and organizer of the event, said.

“Our goal is to educate the general public on the resources that are available for people who struggle with addiction, as well as educate the community about natural approaches to pain management, health and wellness as a means to aid in recovery and sobriety maintenance.”

Those who are struggling with opioid addition and their loved ones are welcome, the news release said. Continuing education credits also will be offered for attending, courtesy of Indiana University Northwest.

Porter County Recorder Chuck Harris, Director of Prevention at Porter-Starke Services Todd Willis, Athletico Physical Therapist Darren Earnshaw and Vyto's Pharamacy Sports Nutritionist Ash Rahmany will speak at the event. Seminar topics will include local overdose statistics, methadone treatment, pain treatment alternatives and a discussion of CBD oil.

Vendors that are in the mental health and addiction field, as well as pain management and sobriety support, also will be featured.

“I interned at a methadone clinic,” Maurushes said.

“Many clients there believed they would be on methadone for their entire lives, because it was the only medication keeping them off prescription opioids and helping them manage their pain. So I began researching natural alternatives for pain management in order to provide them with additional resources. I also had clients who ended up on heroin simply because they wanted to get high. But I believe replacing unhealthy habits with healthier ones is an important piece of the puzzle to successful after-care.”

At 8:30 a.m., continental breakfast and check-in will commence; however walk-ins are welcome. To register in advance, visit www.eventbrite.com or call 219-333-6242.

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Breaking News/Crime Reporter

Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts, investigative news and more. She is a Region native and graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology.