“Love Over Dose” informs FHS juniors about opioid crisis


Rebekah Shultz

Students watch actors from YAT perform “Love Over Dose” on March 10 in the auditorium. Photo by Rebekah Shultz.

1,800. That is approximately how many Hoosiers died from an opioid overdose in 2017, according to the Indiana State Department of Health – and the numbers are on the rise. This problem has become so prominent in the state of Indiana that 19 students from the Young Actors Theatre (YAT)  in Indianapolis decided to write a play about the crisis titled, “Love Over Dose.” – and FHS juniors got a chance to see the play live.

“Love Over Dose” is a fictionalized play. The play follows Alex, whose sister, Riley, dies from an opioid overdose. Alex begins to contemplate the different paths he could take. He could either take the pills and follow his sister’s path or he could learn to find a different way to deal with his struggles. The complexity of this play was not expected by junior Janie Vanoverwalle.

“I expected a short play put on by FHS students,” Vanoverwalle said. “But this was definitely on the professional side.”

YAT gained funding to produce this play through the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. Due to this support, the creators of the play were able to put in months of thorough research, which, according to Vanoverwalle, resulted in a very moving play.

“Hearing the toll it put on these teenagers who were normal was so sad and haunting to see,” Vanoverwalle said.

The play provided an educational experience for Vanoverwalle that helped her understand how serious the opioid crisis is.

“I learned the long-term effects of opioids and just how easy they are to get, “Vanoverwalle said. “I also learned that anyone is susceptible to addiction, no matter how mentally stable you are.”

Vanoverwalle was not the only one who was emotionally impacted by the play. According to Vanoverwalle, many others in the auditorium were experiencing similar feelings.

“I did see a lot of people crying,” Vanoverwalle said. “There are always those kids who don’t take things seriously and will laugh, but people need to realize this is a real problem and we have to be respectful of others.”

When reflecting on the play as a whole, Vanoverwalle believes it left a large impact.

“The overall experience was very influential and I think a play was a great way to inform students about the crisis,” Vanoverwalle said. “I hope people took this seriously, because I surely did.”