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 International Overdose Awareness Day and Why. . .

My son, Aaron Kent Sims, was a genuine, sensitive soul who loved beyond capacity and felt deeply. Without him, I am often at a loss. He knew me so well and we were so alike. In the aftermath of his passing, I have tried EVERYTHING to gain some relief and, in some ways, I believe, to bring him back.

Only one thing has worked: reaching out to others and sharing our pain together. This is the purpose of Overdose-Lifeline.org. We are a lifeline for those left behind following an overdose and a resource for overdose prevention. In a perfect world, I want Overdose-Lifeline to be the answer to all the issues that surround drug addiction. I want to know the best, most efficient treatment center in the whole world, and I want so badly to save another mother this pain. It is so deep, so real, and unbearable. The possibility that Aaron could die from an overdose haunted me as soon as I understood that he was using heroin and that it could kill him anytime he used. The fierce battle of a mother trying to save her child’s life is powerful but no match for the deadly drug heroin. I lost the battle and I lost my son.  I know that Overdose-Lifeline cannot save everyone facing these circumstances instantaneously.  But we can start by honoring lost loved ones and their families.

International Overdose Awareness Day was started in 2001. Indiana had never held an event before this year. I felt it was important to be a part of the greater whole, to join with the communities across the US and in at least four other countries where events were held on August 31st.  We were all remembering and bringing awareness at the same time. Our Indianapolis event touched many lives. I am most moved by the mom who saw the event on the news and came out for support. Her son has only been gone since June. There was the girlfriend who also saw it on the news and came out to remember. And the mom who reached out to another mom in her community; that mother and grandmother were there, honoring their son. Finally, there was the sister who found the event online because she wanted to know more about the anti-overdose kit. She came to honor her sister with her mother, brother, and husband. There are others — people we know, people whose stories we haven’t heard yet.

This is why Overdose-Lifeline and International Overdose Awareness Day exists. We do not have to do this alone; we do not have to feel ashamed that our child/loved one died from an overdose. It is no one’s fault but the disease.

It is also comforting for me to know Aaron is not alone. He can be together with the lost members of these families.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the friends and family that supported this event. Thank you to the Board of Overdose-Lifeline, the DJ, my mom partners (you know who you are). Special thanks to  State Senator Jim Merritt, Deputy Chief Carl Rochelle III, and Brandon Hergett from Senator Donnelly’s office.

We will gather to remember next year. In the meantime, post a remembrance on the webpage, watch for other events, tell anyone you can that overdose is preventable.

God bless,

Justin

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