Hundreds rally at Michigan capitol to raise awareness of opioid addiction
LANSING, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - In Michigan, hundreds of people rallied at the state capital on Thursday to raise awareness about opioid addiction, and to end the stigma.
Many of the families at the Unite to Save Addiction rally have lost loved ones to addiction, and some even battled it themselves.
Robin Sommer drove three hours to bring a sobering message to lawmakers.
"We come to Lansing to squash the stigma," she said.
This close family lives in Antrim County.
Sommer's vibrant 37-year-old son, Damien, and his two girls lived just a few miles away from her home.
"At one point he was prescribed opiates for a broken jaw," she explained.
She recalls her son's sport injury that prompted his road to addiction. Damien was prescribed pain killers by a doctor. He continued to take more and more, until they eventually claimed his life.
"My husband kicked the door down. We found him unresponsive on the floor," Sommer said.
That night, she performed CPR on her son. But it wasn't enough. Damien died from an overdose.
"He didn't make it," Sommer said.
Western Michigan University Professor Lauren Rosseau was faced with a similar circumstance.
"He was murdered in 2012 about a year and a half after he developed an addiction to heroin and he wouldn't have been in that place or circumstance but for his addiction," she said.
Rosseau is urging Michigan lawmakers to pass a good Samaritan law. And Sommer is pushing for more accessibility of the drug naloxone which can reverse the effects of an overdose.
It's a drug she wishes she had the night Damien died.
"The strongest do fall sometimes and that's how powerful addiction is it can take a man strong as he was," she said.