Raising awareness about an epidemic during the pandemic

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Opioid addiction has impacted many families nationwide, including St. Louis City. A local woman who lost multiple family members to overdose is raising awareness of the opioid crisis with a walk/run event in Forest Park on Saturday morning.

“We really want people in the community to understand what opiates are and to actually understand symptoms so they can help their family,” said Angela Claybon, Care STL Health CEO.

Care STL Health hosts the Project O -Opioid Awareness Walk. Clabon is one of many who have been devastated by this epidemic, which is why she created this free event, now in its second year.

“This year I’ve lost six family members to overdose of opiates,” she said. “Two in the last two weeks.”

Clabon said people need access to information, so vendors were at the event to “inform, listen, and offer support” for anyone who’s been impacted or has struggled with addiction.

“Nobody is immune to this disease,” says Liz Barton, Sana Lake Recovery spokesperson. “It hits every face in the United States. It hits every neighborhood.”

Recently, the Associated Press revealed the epidemic is “crippling the Black community with the emergence of fentanyl flooding St. Louis city streets.”

Claybon agrees but said we’ve got to keep the conversation going.

“It is not a drug that is being used only by drug addicts…that are on the street corners,” she said. “It is definitely being used by professionals—all races, all sizes—and it takes you out quickly.”

Clabon said we need to continue to recognize the damage opioid addiction is doing and try to change it.

“It really is a silent pandemic in our community and we really want to bring awareness to it,” she said.

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