Families gather in Salem to honor loved ones lost to opioid epidemic

Local News

The opioid crisis continues to affect families across our area and the nation.

OhioCAN (Change Addiction Now) Columbiana County hosted its 5th annual Steps of Change event to continue to spread the message of the dangers of drugs.

The organization focuses on the health of family members impacted by an opioid user.

Kim Spencer’s daughter Amanda died from an overdose three months ago, just 10 days before her 26th birthday. She says losing Amanda completely changed her life.

“Unless you lost a child, you can’t describe it. It’s like a piece of you, gone,” Spencer said.

Losing her daughter inspired Spencer to make a career change. She went from being a nurse to working in a methadone clinic, helping other addicts.

Spencer was front and center for the Steps of Change walk around Centennial Park in Salem Saturday afternoon. The one-mile walk was in honor of the loved ones who died.

“It is hell. You try for so long to save them and the disease makes them someone you don’t even recognize anymore,” she said.

Spencer wasn’t the only person reminded of how painful it is to lose somebody you love. Dozens of people showed up to the event, placing pairs of shoes down to represent someone who died from drugs.

A number of resources were on hand, including naloxone training and a heroin hearse, which is supposed to grab your attention.

Twelve different people spoke throughout the day, including Congressman Bill Johnson.

“This is the kind of community outreach and engagement it is going to take to make a difference,” he said.

The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say over 100 people a day die from drug overdoses.

An out-of-state friend of Brenda Hamilton’s died just last week.

“He lived in a $500,000 house, drove a brand new Shelby, owned a couple of businesses and they found him in a Motel 8, dead,” she said.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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