Families of drug overdose victims walk to raise awareness

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Anna Winters had never heard of QC Harm Reduction, a group that works to reduce deaths from drug overdose, until it was too late for her daughter.

"She would do good for a while and then relapse," the Davenport mother said, recalling the dreadful call in February 2017, summoning her to the hospital.

"I hope nobody ever has to go through that," she said.

On Saturday morning, she and family members carried posters and photos of Renae Myers to Vander Veer Park to participate in the coalition's annual Overdose Awareness Walk.

"We are doing the walk to remember our daughter and to let everybody know there’s an epidemic in the Quad Cities, and that QC Harm Reduction has the help that we need," she said.

The loss of her 32-year-old daughter was a call to action that has gotten her walking since.

"Her death has made us more involved," she said. Since then, she and her family have gone out into the community to distribute drug overdose kits, such as Narcan.

According to QC Harm Reduction, the kits have prevented 311 deaths this year in the Quad Cities.

"We need to stop criminalizing drug use, plant it firmly in public health and start getting the treatment into our communities that’s effective and safe and that will help people recover,"  said Kim Brown, the organization's president.

Families who have lost loved ones say there is still a stigma surrounding addiction when it should be treated like an illness.  Those who suffering from drug addiction need support, not shaming, they said.

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