Legislators Can Play a Role in Preventing Overdose Deaths

Submission Date: February 18, 2015
Attributing Author: Jeanne Kirkton
Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch

Harm Reduction

Rep. Kirkton offers the Lemondses family story.

Over the past eight years, heroin, morphine and prescription narcotic overdoses have taken lives of 2,325 people in the bistate metropolitan region -348 last year alone. These deaths are a growing but preventable epidemic. Every day, these families look across their dinner table at an empty chair where their loved one once sat. No family is immune, as Mary Ann Lemonds’ knows all too well.

The Lemondses were a picture-perfect family – involved in church, their kids’ schools and sports teams. They ate dinner together. But their son, Ben, began experimenting with drugs in middle school. He became addicted and their family traveled with him in his roller coaster ride through treatment,sobriety and using for six years.Ben died from a heroin overdose on Jan. 4,2011, at age 21. He was a sweet, loving and creative person who despite his many talents, sincerity and determination, lost his battle with the disease of addiction.

Jeanne Kirkton, is a State Representative, St. Louis County ,91st DistricT, Democrat
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