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A local coffee shop and addiction-recovery organization are teaming up Sunday to spread the word that it's possible to overcome substance abuse.

Sip Coffee House in Crown Point and Supporting Addiction Free Environments for Lake County, or SAFE, are giving away free coffee and mugs from 8-11 a.m. at the cafe, 11 N. Court St., in the hopes of informing people about drug treatment options in the Region.

"The co-workers that I have here all know people who struggle with mental health and addiction, so it hits home with us in that way," said Sip Coffee General Manager Evi Lovin. "We're really excited to present this to the community. I think it will give them a great opportunity to get conversations going, and it will be easier for them to reach out."

Sunday marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week, while National Recovery Month just wrapped up in September. And, amid a national epidemic of opioid overdose deaths, Lake County had 152 people die from drugs in 2018 and more than 100 perish through mid-August of this year.

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The Sip family lost one of its own to a heroin overdose last month. Lovin also said the cafe often has customers who discuss their experience with addiction with the staff.

"I'm hoping to start conversations around addiction and mental health, and that it's OK to talk about — a coffee shop could be a place, at home could be a place," said Stephanie Shostak, a member of SAFE's treatment committee. "It's always better to talk about it and break that stigma ... that it's OK to get that help."

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SAFE will be on hand to distribute free drug-disposal packs, as well as information on treatment available in the community.

"A lot of people don't know about the services and all the agencies that are actually in Lake County," Shostak said.

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Health Reporter

Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.