Home / Trending / ‘We’ve all lost a child to this epidemic’: Hundreds gather on Utah capitol steps for overdose awareness

‘We’ve all lost a child to this epidemic’: Hundreds gather on Utah capitol steps for overdose awareness

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SALT LAKE CITY — Nineteen-year-old Alyssa Hendricks “loved everybody” and “welcomed everybody,” in accordance to her mom, Nicole Hendricks.

A “spunky cheerleader” attending cosmetology faculty, she was once some of the ultimate other people any person would be expecting to take care of a drug habit, her mom mentioned.

“It was super shocking to most everyone that knew her,” she mentioned.

But she’d turn out to be addicted to ache tablets after a automobile coincidence her senior 12 months of highschool, Nicole Hendricks mentioned. The mom believes her daughter’s melancholy and nervousness will have additionally performed a function.

She then grew to become to heroin ultimate 12 months, Nicole Hendricks mentioned. The day sooner than she was once to input rehab, Alyssa Hendricks’ oldsters were given a name from their daughter’s fiance telling them she’d overdosed.

Nicole Hendricks mentioned her daughter had simplest began the use of heroin about a month sooner than.

But after her daughter’s dying, the mum says she discovered improve and working out thru a company of different oldsters who had additionally lost kids to overdose.

Nicole Hendricks, in conjunction with masses of others whose lives have someway been impacted via opioid habit, collected in entrance of the state Capitol construction in Salt Lake City Friday night time to “raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death,” in accordance to match organizers.

The match, hosted via Overdose Awareness Utah, was once one of the going down all over the world on International Overdose Awareness Day, held once a year on the ultimate day of August. Friday’s amassing was once the 3rd 12 months the development came about in Salt Lake.

As masses of other people united across the Capitol steps, buddies chatted and bunches of crimson and white balloons floated overhead.

Event organizer Amber Baum lost her daughter, 22-year-old Kenzie Baum, in 2013 to a heroin overdose. She mentioned she “laid in bed” for a couple of years after her daughter’s dying.

But then, she mentioned, she discovered since no person was once going to save her, she will have to assist others. So she become occupied with other organizations for members of the family of those that have struggled with habit.

Now, “I have more mom friends than I could ever want,” Baum mentioned. “It’s an awful club to be in,” she defined, however it is a “support system.”

As she spoke to the Deseret News, a number of of the ones “mom friends” volunteering on the match buzzed round her, asking for route as they ready for the development, some preventing to give her a hug.

“We’ve all lost a child to this epidemic.”


Family individuals of Shandy Olsen, middle, stand for a second of silence with different households who’ve lost other people thru overdose as Overdose Awareness Utah hosts an match for International Overdose Awareness Day on the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. Shandy Olsen died of an overdose on June 10, 2017. The world match is held on Aug. 31 each and every 12 months and targets to carry awareness of overdose and cut back the stigma of a drug-related dying. It additionally recognizes the grief felt via households and buddies remembering those that have died or had a everlasting harm as a results of drug overdose. (Photo: Steve Griffin, KSL)

Baum mentioned she desires other people to remember that there may be now “support out there” and “love out there” for the ones in an identical scenarios. She says when she and others lost their kids years in the past, there was once much less awareness about the problem they usually have been “ashamed.”

Having anyone to communicate to who understands does not take the ache away, she mentioned, however it makes it “tolerable.”

Beau Carter, some other attendee, lost 24 buddies to overdose — two of them in the similar week. He says he himself suffered with an habit for 12 years, however he recovered from it and has an “amazing job” and a daughter.

“When one of my best friends died, I just felt like, people need a place where they can get resources,” he mentioned. He began a workforce known as Addicted We Stand to assist addicts “get back on their feet,” he mentioned.

“I would basically want people to know that there’s help out there … not to give up.”

After an hour of mingling, a rite kicked off with a second of silence, track from the One Voice Children’s Choir and a balloon liberate. Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, spoke in brief and described his efforts to assist struggle the opioid epidemic.

“There’s a lot of meetings that go on here … nothing is more impacting to a policy maker, to a public servant, than you,” he informed the gang. He mentioned when other people proportion their tales with lawmakers, it makes an have an effect on.

“This is such a heartfelt group, and it’s so personal to everyone,” he mentioned, including that he was once dressed in sun shades so no person would see him cry.


I might mainly need other people to know that there is assist available in the market … now not to surrender.

–Beau Carter


He mentioned state lawmakers were making an attempt to enact trade via making naloxone extra extensively to be had and placing extra money in opposition to “behavioral health.”

“There is no party to this issue,” he mentioned.

Following angelic track via One Voice Children’s Choir, 176 other people covered up and made their manner to the grass in entrance of the Capitol. They stood in combination, the crowd forming the form of a Boeing 737 aircraft to constitute the 176 people who find themselves lost on a daily basis within the United States to overdose.

The thought at the back of it, in accordance to match organizers, is that after a aircraft crash happens, it’s investigated till officers uncover its motive. Organizers mentioned they would like the similar to be executed for the opioid epidemic.

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