High school senior collecting hygiene items to help those recovering from substance abuse

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COLUMBUS, Ind.- A central Indiana high schooler is using his senior project to help those struggling with substance abuse in his community.

Curran O’Connor’s kitchen table is covered with hygiene items like toothpaste, shaving cream and shampoo.

For the past month, he’s been collecting hygiene items and putting together bags for men and women at sober living homes.  O’Connor’s mother is an addiction therapist at a local hospital, so he’s heard tough stories.

“I’ve seen the effects it’s had on people. The stories she tells me sometimes it’s pretty sad and makes me want to help people around in our community,” said Curran O’Connor, a senior at Columbus North.

The first bags will be donated to people at ASAP, Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress in Columbus.

“It’s been a miracle to say the least,” said Austin Hagedorn, recovery specialist at ASAP.

Austin Hagedorn now works as a recovery specialist at ASAP. Years ago, though, he battled alcohol and opioid addiction and is proud to say he completed ASAP’s treatment program.

“Going into treatment and usually going out of treatment, we don’t have a lot of things, literally. Sometimes they are coming in our doors with just the clothes on their backs,” said Hagedorn.

The goal was to create 30 hygiene bags.  After O’Connor put a call out on social media for donations, he got enough and then some.

“I wasn’t expecting all this. I was expecting a few people to donate but it’s been awesome how much we’ve gotten,” said O’Connor.

It takes courage for someone struggling to recognize they need help.  When they show up and get one of these bags, O’Connor wants that person to know someone cares.

“I want them to know the community is behind them and helping them with the road to sobriety. We’re rooting for them and we want them to get better,” said O’Connor.

The first delivery of the bags will be dropped off at ASAP this weekend.  If you’re interested in helping O’Connor with his project, you can e-mail him at oconnorcurran@gmail.com

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