Father of overdose victim tells families ‘don’t give up’

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A father who lost a son to drug addiction told families “don’t give up” as Lexington paid tribute to national Overdose Awareness Day and kicked off September as Recovery Month.

“In the midst of the COVID pandemic, my dedication to finding a local solution for people caught in the web of another epidemic … opioid, and now polysubstance abuse … has not waivered,” Mayor Linda Gorton said at a Monday morning event.

In isolation, drug usage increases, Gorton said.

“That has always been the case, but it has been made clearer now. Increased usage means increased overdoses. So, especially in a pandemic, we have to continue to do what we can to make sure everyone has access to the tools needed for recovery.”

Fayette County recorded 128 overdose fatalities in 2019. As of Aug. 17 this year we had already experienced 130 overdose fatalities.

The increase comes after a two-year decrease. The number of overdose fatalities in Lexington peaked at 187 in 2017.  We experienced a decrease in 2018 with 161 fatalities, and again in 2019 with 128 fatalities.

Lexington is recognizing those who have died from substance abuse with a Silver Ribbon campaign.

“Along Main Street, at our partner organizations, and in front of city buildings, we have placed silver ribbons to recognize those who have lost someone to a drug overdose,” Gorton said.

Parents who have lost children are also displaying the ribbons. So far, about 30 businesses and organizations have joined the campaign.

Gorton said the campaign was organized by her Community Response Strategist, Andrea James, and the City’s Substance Use Disorder Intervention Program Coordinator Amy Baker.

This City is also looking forward to National Recovery Month, which begins tomorrow. Several special events happening during National Recovery Month will be posted to the City website at www.lexingtonky.gov .

“The road to recovery is not easy, and not everyone achieves success on the first try,” Gorton said. “But with a supportive community like Lexington, the opportunities are there for anyone who is ready to try.

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