by Heather Black, WSBT 22 Reporter

Heroin and prescription opioid addictions in Indiana have increased five-fold since 1999. That’s according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

And nationwide, 61 percent of overdoses involve opioids like heroin. An Elkhart group wants to help families who are affected by these addictions.

The Gweedo’s Purple Shamrocks held their first meeting Thursday night. It’s for families and friends who need to talk about how heroin and prescription opioid addictions impact their lives.

We weren’t allowed to sit in on the meeting, but WSBT 22 spoke with volunteers about why they think this group is important.

Opioid addictions are battles that many fight daily. Whether you’re the user or the family member.

“The epidemic in the community,” said Susie Meaks-Wade. “I mean it’s everywhere. Addiction affects everyone. It especially affects the families. I think lots of times people feel like it’s their fault. They can’t control the addict.”

Gweedo’s Purple Shamrocks is an organization that helps addicts get back on their feet. The President, Sam Callantine, started the group in memory of his brother who died from a heroin overdose.

Read more at WSBT

Elkhart group offers support for families impacted by opioid addiction