People gather at NYS Capitol to raise awareness of drug, heroin epidemic

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Wednesday was International Overdose Awareness Day, and people gathered at the Capitol to raise awareness about the growing drug epidemic.

Prescription drug and heroin use has increased in recent years. Three people died in Cobleskill this week from apparent drug overdoses.

But people gathered in Albany on Wednesday in hopes to combat the problem.

“I never thought this is where I’d be last year,” Debra Wilkins said.

Wilkins’s daughter, Alex, died from a heroin overdose. On Wednesday, she placed a pair of her daughter’s shoes on the steps of the New York State Capitol.

“It hurts to know that she’s gone, and she’s not coming back to use those shoes again,” she said.

Alex died on September 1, 2015. She had just turned 25 and had only been out of detox for 11 days.

“Something really has to happen because it’s killing off a whole generation of our kids,” Wilkins said.

Now, Wilkins rallies with others to remember her daughter and bring awareness to the drug and heroin epidemic.

“Overdose is preventable, and recovery is possible,” NØpiates co-executive director Kim Murdick said.

Kim and Tim Murdick lost their son, Sean, to an overdose. At the rally, a member of the committee announced legislation named in his honor. It would be the first continuity of care plan in the country.

“Will allow any addict to be able to walk into any hospital and be guaranteed admission for 72 hours,” NØpiates Committee Legislation Liaison Linda Rozell-Shannon said.

The addict would be able to receive an antidote and would then be transported to an inpatient treatment facility.

“As we move into the next legislative session, our goal, yes, is to take Sean Murdick’s Law and make it the law that will be the model throughout the land,” Assemblyman John McDonald said.

As for Wilkins, she doesn’t want another family to endure what she went through. She hopes the collection of empty shoes at the Capitol will do just that.

“In a way, it’s a hope that people will become aware of the problem, or more aware of the problem, and actually do something,” she said.

The Murdicks said they learned of the proposed legislation at the same time as everyone else. They said they are beyond proud and honored to have it named after their son.

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