Millie mattered, and so do the countless others who, like her, have lost their lives to the drug epidemic. That is the message brought by the Louisiana Drug Overdose Awareness Walks which will kick off with an event scheduled to take place at the walking trail at Davis Park in Winnsboro on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 2 p.m.
Caryn and Raymond Stanley of Wisner serve as local chairpersons for the walk here and in Walker, La., through their involvement with Millie Mattered Overdose and Addiction Advocacy, the organization created by a Jonesville mother, Lilly Harvey, who lost her daughter, Millie, to a fentanyl overdose.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl is now the leading cause of death among American adults ages 18-45. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is cheap to produce and often added by dealers to street drugs like heroin.
Caryn lost her 25-year-old son, Jacob Sibley, on Feb. 7, 2015, to a heroin overdose and knows all too well the effects of drug overdoses and addictions. She and her husband are raising Jacob’s son who is now fatherless.
She said she became involved with Millie Mattered as a way to help prevent others from going through what she has suffered.
“We honor the ones who passed away and support the ones who are fighting against (overdoses) and are in recovery,” Caryn said.
Millie Mattered was created to spread awareness about overdoses not only in Northeast Louisiana, but also throughout the country. Last September, representatives of the organization, including the Stanleys, walked in Washington, D.C., and will do so again this year.
During the walks, banners are displayed bearing the photos of those who have lost their lives to drug overdoses. The desire, according to Caryn, is to help people who are experiencing the pain of loss that is personal to them, and to also put faces in place of numbers and help bring awareness to the life-threatening dangers of drugs which are readily available on our streets.
A photo of Caryn’s son Jacob is among those on the first banner created.
“We’re just trying to raise awareness, even about marijuana, due to fentanyl,” Caryn said referring to lacing of marijuana products with the deadly drug.
The public is invited to take part in the upcoming walks. The Louisiana walks which will begin here Saturday, will continue throughout the state, and include walks set to take place in Monroe, March 3, and West Monroe on March 24, with the final walk to take place on the Capitol steps in Baton Rouge on April 2. At 10 a.m.
For more information or to become involved in the upcoming Winnsboro walk, contact Caryn Stanley, (318) 837-9884 or visit the Millie Mattered Facebook page.
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