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Impacted by loved ones with addiction, crowd marches, raises awareness for substance abuse


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    WAYNESVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — More than 200 people marched down Main Street in Waynesville on Sunday, May 16, for the First Annual Drug Awareness Walk.

“We didn’t realize how many of us there were out there,” said Lisa Falbo, one of the organizers who lost a son to drugs.

The event was a clear picture that substance abuse is a stranger to no one.

Impacted by loved ones with addiction, crowd marches, raises awareness for substance abuse

“I answered my standard, ‘I love you more, Clay,’” said Michele Rogers, another organizer, telling the crowd about her last moments with her son.

Like Falbo’s son, Rogers’ son also died from a drug overdose.

“I did not realize that would be the last text my son would read from me — not my child,” said Rogers.

Falbo and Rogers are leaders with the SHARE Project. SHARE stands for Spreading Hope and Awareness and Removing the Epidemic Stigma.

The two women met through personal training. They quickly realized that they shared the loss of a son.

“None of us have all the answers but each of us may have one idea to help change the conversation,” said Falbo.

People in the crowd on Sunday shared similar stories.

“My son’s name was Morgan,” said Rebecca Morgan, who got emotional during the speeches at the event.

Rebecca, a mother from Canton, lost her son, Morgan, who was a husband and dad of two, to a battle with addiction.

“I bought a necktie for him because I knew that one day he would beat this addiction,” she said.

He died this past September at the age of 27.

“We wanted to have him buried with this necktie — it was a red tie, it was just beautiful,” Rebecca Morgan said. “He was unable to have an open casket.”

Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher said in the last 15 months, there have been 95 reported overdoses in the county.

Right now, the county is currently investigating eight overdose deaths.

In April, Christopher said they had 41 felony drug arrests — 10 that included fentanyl and heroin trafficking.

“Overdoses continue to occur every day in this county, and overdose deaths are destroying our families,” the sheriff said to the crowd.

However, out of all the grief, there is still hope, as shared success stories showed.

“I am a person who wears a hat of long-term substance abuse recovery; I have 13 years,” said one person in recovery.

Another person got up and spoke about his success.

“I have been clean of all mind-altering drugs since November 3, 2012,” he said, which was followed by an applause.

Falbo and Rogers said, in order to stop the stigma and save lives, we just have to keep talking about it.

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