WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. It’s a time for friends and family to remember loved ones lost to addiction. It’s also a time to reflect on what resources are out there to help.
Tuesday evening, community members gathered at Courthouse Square in Warren for a vigil.
“Kyle was 28 when he passed,” said Marie Andrews, whose son died from an overdose.
Andrews lost her son to an accidental overdose nearly five years ago.
“I always thought things were going to get better. I always thought things were going to change but they didn’t,” she said.
He struggled with a serious addiction for seven years but the roots of the problem go back to high school.
“I heard stories of pills being thrown into a bowl and everybody just taking pills out,” Andrews said.
Other families at the vigil also talked about people they loved who died from an overdose.
“These are the ashes of my son, David Anthony,” said Brian Reed.
Reed doesn’t go anywhere without taking a piece of his son with him.
“His ashes are in here. I had it made to keep him with me at all times,” he said.
Reed’s son was clean for over a year but went out with friends one night. He died in a grocery store parking lot. His father saw a post about it on Facebook.
“They put a sheet over the body and I said prayers for the family. About an hour and a half later, the prayers were for me. It was my son who was dead,” Reed said.
Reed and Andrews are part of Trumbull County Strong, a support group for families of those struggling with addiction.
“Just don’t feel the guilt. You did what you could do and at the end of the day, it’s up to the addict to want to change,” Andrews said.
If you would like to get involved with the group, just visit their Facebook page called Trumbull County Strong.