Families fly purple flags to remember loved ones lost to overdoses

Two thousand, three hundred and fifty seven purple flags flap in the August breeze on the campus of UMass Memorial Health.

Each one represents someone lost to a drug overdose…like Cliff and Susan’s son randy.

“This last time, he was clean for like 13 months; doing very well, working, saving all his money. He had his own place and just like that it just got back to him,” says Susan Richards.

“Everybody loved him, but he never loved himself,“ says Cliff Richards.

Josh Kraft and the New England patriots foundation was on hand at an international overdose awareness day remembrance on the Worcester campus.

Those impacted by addiction also planted butterflies, and shared testimonials, including Amy Nichols who has been in recovery for 36 years.

“I was a young, single, mom living in a trailer with three little girls and struggling with alcohol addiction,” says Nichols. Amy’s brother lost his battle with addiction, but now she carries the torch.

Decreasing the stigma around addiction is another.

“This is not a moral issue. these are good, kind, wonderful human beings. addiction is a disease,” says Nichols.

The FDA has approved it’s over the counter use and we know that blue cross and blue shield is going to completely cover the cost of the drug making it free to subscribers.

The executive office of health and human services says MassHealth also plans to cover over-the-counter naloxone and their will be no limit to the quantity it will cover.

Dr. Kavita Babu says it’s going to be a game changer.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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