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Community members work to change how addicts are viewed

Cece and Bobby Brown lost their son to a heroin overdose in 2014. Since his death, they have become advocates for change in their community. (WCHS/WVAH photo)

Cece and Bobby Brown lost their son to a heroin overdose in 2014. Since his death, they have become advocates for change in their community.

Saturday morning, family members and friends who have lost loved ones to drug addiction brought pairs of shoes that belonged to the ones they have lost. The capitol steps were lined with work boots, sandals and running sneakers. Each pair was different, and a symbol of remembrance.

"They were more than their addiction," Cece Brown said. "They had a smile that would light up a room. They are real people with names. They are not just numbers."

Everyone who came to share stories and remember loved was was effected by the drug epidemic. Frank Johnson is currently in recovery. He said he is lucky to be alive, and represents the ones who did not make it.

"I woke up right next to me friend," Johnson said. "She was 23-years-old. She was gone. She overdosed, and I didn't know it happened."

Robert White lost his son almost a year ago. He said it is a pain that never goes away, but it is getting better.

"My son was into skateboarding," White said. "So I brought his skateboarding shoes. I was basically crippled for about three months by his death. I've been told it gets a lot better. I guess it gets a little better every day or so."

Free naloxone training was also available. The Kanawha Charleston Health Department donated the naloxone kits to hand out after the training.

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