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Hundreds rally at Michigan capitol to raise awareness of opioid addiction

(upnorthlive.com photo)

Hundreds of people rallied at Michigan's capitol on Thursday to raise awareness about opioid addiction, and to end the stigma.

Many of the families at the Unite to Save Addiction Rally feel the loss of addiction in their lives, and some even battled it themselves.

Robin Sommer drove three hours to bring a sobering message to lawmakers.

"We come to Lansing to squash the stigma," said Sommer.

This close family lives in Antrim County.

Sommer's vibrant 37-year-old son, Damien, and his two girls lived just a few miles away from her home.

"At one point he was prescribed opiates for a broken jaw."

She recalls her son's sport injury that prompted his road to addiction.

Damien was prescribed pain killers by a doctor.

He continued to take more and more -- until they eventually claimed his life.

"My husband kicked the door down," said Sommer. "We found him unresponsive on the floor."

That night she performed CPR on her son.

But it wasn't enough.

Damien died from an overdose.

"He didn't make it."

Western Michigan University Professor Lauren Russo --- was faced with a similar circumstance.

"He was murdered in 2012 about a year and a half after he developed an addiction to heroin and he wouldn't have been in that place or circumstance but for his addiction," said Russo.

Rosseau is urging Michigan lawmakers to pass a good Samaritan law.

And Sommer is pushing for more accessibility of the drug naloxone which can reverse the effects of an overdose.

It's a drug she wishes she had the night Damien died.

"The strongest do fall sometimes and that's how powerful addiction is it can take a man strong as he was," said Sommer.


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