By Fallon Glick

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) –  On this Veteran’s Day, our country’s heroes were honored in a different kind of way in Nelson County by raising awareness about suicide and substance abuse disorders.

The effects of war are often carried with our military men and women the rest of their lives. Because of that, organizations in Nelson and Bullitt County say they need to be remembered more than just on holidays and when they return home.

“But even in times when it’s not popular. Even at times when they have their moments and they need somebody to protect them. That’s we need to all be prepared,” said Jennifer Punkin-Stepp, with the Bullitt County Opioid Addiction Team of BOAT.

Prepared with treatment options, and resources to save a life, Punkin-Stepp said.

According to the Department for Veterans Affairs, veterans are 10 times more likely to be affected by substance abuse disorders than the average person.

“And that is the number one factor leading towards homelessness, incarceration and suicide among American veterans,” Punkin-Stepp said.

The VA also says more than 20 veterans commit suicide every day.

“A lot of those suicides involve the opioids. There’s a lot of intentional overdose,” she said.

Therefore on this Veterans Day, BOAT trained people on how to use overdose reversal medication. Punkin-Stepp says all too often people can be so quick to judge and talk about the type of people that are affected by the opioid epidemic.

“What they fail to remember is how many veterans are affected by this because they have been over prescribed medications for their injuries. They’ve been over prescribed medications for their PTSD,” she said.

“There’s a lot of people suffering alone and they don’t have to be,” said Tammy Gibson, founder of United for Recovery.

BOAT gave away 30 rescue kits at the United for Recovery event in Nelson County. It’s just the start to an issue that organizers say needs to be talked about.

“Everybody’s life is worth saving and everybody needs a helping hand every once in a while,” Punkin-Stepp said.

If you would like more information on rescue training and how to receive a rescue kit, you can contact BOAT here.


Our veterans have done so much for us and deserve so much.  It’s a shame we stigmatize them the way we do and don’t provide the support that they need and deserve!

Dr. Raymond Oenbrink