There’s an important community event scheduled for Dec. 11.

It’s billed as a community call to action with regard to the opioid crisis.

The event will be conducted from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Center Lake Pavilion in Warsaw.

This community needs a call to action.

Let’s think about this for a moment. So far this year, 23 people have died of opioid overdoses in Kosciusko County, according to coroner Tony Ciriello. One of them was a 13-year-old. That’s a crisis.

But what’s most troubling about it is how little attention the problem seems to draw.

I remember when a few people died because semis were running red lights on U.S. 30. There was a campaign for red-light cameras. Speed limits were reduced. There was – and still is – increased enforcement.

It’s been awhile since there has been a red-light related fatality on U.S. 30 and that’s a good thing. But that’s because people were willing to take action.

I can say with a fair amount of certainty that if 23 people died at the intersection of U.S. 30 and Parker Street in 10 months, we’d be talking about building an overpass – no matter what the cost.

But for whatever reason, the opioid crisis is different. Maybe it’s because most people figure it only affects a bunch of druggies – which is totally not the case.

Or maybe it’s because people think it’s the victim’s own fault for using drugs in the first place, which isn’t the case either.

The thing about the opioid crisis is that it is an equal-opportunity destroyer of lives. It’s not just “druggies” who get hooked and wind up overdosing.

It cuts across all social and economic levels.

That’s because opioids are so highly addictive. There have been many cases where someone suffers a knee, ankle or back injury and gets prescribed pain killers.

This is a person who never even smoked pot before, but they wind up hooked on pain pills. After the prescription runs out, they start buying them on the street.

But that’s costly. So the next step in the progression is to try heroin. Similar buzz, but a lot cheaper. A pain pill addiction can cost nearly $1,000 a week. Heroin? $150.

These days, however, with the advent of fentanyl, that first dose of heroin can be your last. Lots of heroin dealers are cutting their dope with fentanyl, a powerful painkiller.

How dangerous is it?

Just ask Prince. The pop star died on April 21, 2016, at his home in Minneapolis, from an overdose. A one-page autopsy report recorded his death as an accident and said “The decedent self-administered fentanyl.”

This is instructional. It’s not like Prince wanted to die that day. And it’s not like he didn’t know what he was doing. He was an experienced drug user who had unlimited resources.

If a guy like him can overdose, what chance does Average Joe with a pain pill addiction have?

And just when the cops and first responders thought things couldn’t get much worse, along comes carfentanil.

This is a substance used to tranquilize elephants. It is 100 times more powerful than the fentanyl that killed Prince.

According to a recent story in the Washington Post, all of the zookeepers and vets in the United States combined need only about 18 grams of carfentanil a year, about the weight of 18 artificial sweetener packets.

Recently, a Canadian drug team busted a dealer with a kilo of the stuff. That’s 2.2 pounds.

Again, dealers mix this stuff with heroin. It’s all about money. More doses, more highs, more profit. Problem is, if a user is unaware and takes a regular dose laced with carfentanil, an overdose is virtually assured.

The stuff is so powerful, it can actually be absorbed through the skin. Cops have to protect themselves against exposure. A whiff of the stuff can be fatal to drug-sniffing dogs. Cops can end up in the hospital from breathing a puff of carfentanil expelled while sealing a ziplock bag.

There have been deaths from carfentanil recorded across the Midwest. And it can take months before authorities figure out someone died of carfentanil. That’s because the stuff is next to impossible to detect in toxicology tests, experts say.

As bad as all this stuff is, just the run-of-the-mill leftover painkillers in your medicine cabinet can be just as deadly.

A family in Elkhart County had two teenage sons show up at a party. They drank a little booze and popped a few pills gleaned from a parent’s leftover pain-killer prescription. Both died.

These were not druggies. They were generally good kids who just made a tragic mistake.

So on Dec. 11, stop by Center Lake Pavilion and get informed. Beyond that, get involved.

Moderated by Pastor Denny Wilson, of Warsaw Community Church, the event will feature a host of speakers with knowledge of the opioid crisis.

Speakers will include:

• Kosciusko County Sheriff Rocky Goshert

• Warsaw Police Chief Scott Whitaker

• Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer

• Kosciusko County Coroner Tony Ciriello

• Kosciusko County Health Officer Dr. William Remington.

• Circuit & Drug Court Judge Mike Reed

• Superior Court Judge David Cates

• Fort Wayne Recovery Center COO Jef Mullins

• A Bridge To Hope President Mickey Ashpole

• Bowen Center Addictions Director Megan Fisher

• Bowen Recovery Center Director Catherine Southworth

• Indiana State Police troopers Kyle Dukes and Andy Cochran.

At the end of the event there will be a call to action – those in attendance will be given a chance to actually do something to help fight the opioid crisis.

Take the time. Check it out.

Who knows? You might help prevent an overdose death.