MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) – A Louisiana mother and Region 8 Office of Public Health, among other officials, have joined together to spread awareness about the state’s drug epidemic.
Lilly Harvey lost her daughter to a fentanyl overdose. Now, Harvey is on a mission to make a change in her community.
“My daughter is gone because of this, but if I stay silent, it’s just going to escalate. We have to come together as a community and as parents and loved ones to let everybody know how much their loved one matters, that they don’t want to die, and that we need to do something to combat this.”
Lilly Harvey’s daughter, Millie Mattered, was found dead in a park in Alexandria in 2017. Without support from parents that experienced this type of loss, she became the advocate and support of many grieving families.
“So, I stepped up and held my very first overdose awareness day in the park in the very place where she lost her life. And where she died is where Millie Mattered Overdose and Addiction Advocacy was birthed,” explained Harvey.
The awareness walk included over 20 banners with more than 400 faces of young people lost to this epidemic. Betsy Mullins lost her 38-year-old son from a fentanyl overdose. He was in recovery and relapsed.
“God spoke to me, and he said, hold him a little longer, a little tighter. And as I did, I whispered to him, I love you, and I’m so proud of you. And he had accomplished so very much in his sobriety time,” said Mullins.
Over 1,8000 people have died from a fentanyl overdose in the State of Louisiana alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Opioid Use Disorder Prevention Manager with Northeast Delta Human Services Authority, Kara Etienne says the center provides opioid overdose treatment medications.
“It would reverse the effects of an opioid-related overdose if it’s ministered in time. And that’s prescription pain meds, heroin, and fentanyl which we can have in our community.”
Lilly Harvey’s mission is for Louisiana State officials to apply the ‘Millie’s Law bill, which will increase penalties for the unlawful distribution or dispensing of heroin and fentanyl.
“Millie, we loved you, and you are making a difference,” said Harvey.
The opioid awareness walk will be visiting over 15 cities across the state and will make a last stop at the state capital in Baton Rouge on April 2nd.
For more information about opioid overdose treatment medications, you can call the 24/7 hotline at (800) 256-2522 or contact Lilly Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org