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'This is an epidemic' | Mother of overdose victim shares story on International Overdose Awareness Day

Christine Gagnon lost her 22-year old son, Michael Gagnon in 2017 to Fentanyl and since then, she has participated in the fight against drugs.

CONNECTICUT, USA — Wednesday is International Overdose Awareness Day and this day hits close to home for many people. 

Those who had a dark past or lost a loved one to addiction shared their stories. 

One Southington mother who lost her son to a deadly drug five years ago has been using his death as motivation to participate in the fight against drugs. 

"Sometimes it seems like time is flying by and then sometimes it feels like it’s standing still," said Christine Gagnon of Southington. 

RELATED: 'Overdose Awareness Day' declared in Connecticut by Lamont

Gagnon's son, 22-year-old Michael Gagnon overdosed in 2017. 

There were signs. It started with marijuana and eventually, the high school football player was hooked on molly, ecstasy, heroin and then Fentanyl, the drug that ended his life on an early Monday morning five years ago. 

"This is an epidemic," added Gagnon. 

Gagnon believed her son would still be alive had there been more resources.

In 2018, she and many grieving mothers drafted a letter to former President Donald Trump to ask for help in tackling this crisis. 

 "I made a promise to myself that when I lost my son that I was going to do everything that a mom can do to help protect children," added Gagnon. 

RELATED: 76 overdoses reported in New Haven; 1 person arrested

At Wednesday's news conference at the State Capitol, Attorney General William Tong requested Gagnon and her daughter stand next to him, so everyone was able to put a face to a name, being more than a statistic. 

"1500 flags represent the people lost. There are thousands of people who we have not lost yet and we have to do everything we can to help them," said Tong. 

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Hartford paid tribute by placing 1,531 tiny, white flags on the grass. Each flag represented a life lost too soon. 

There will be a candlelight vigil held at 7 p.m. at the State Capitol with large posters of those who have passed. 

RELATED: Connecticut mother gets letter from President Trump about the opioid epidemic

"The stories are endless, the pain is immeasurable and we have to do more," said Commissioner Manisha Juthani of the CT Department of Public Health. 

Over in New Haven, free Naloxone was handed out for anyone struggling with no questions asked. 

 "There is Narcan throughout the city to ensure if there is an overdose, we can quickly reverse the effects of that overdose and save lives," said Mayor Justin Elicker of the City of New Haven. 

Carmen Chau is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at cchau@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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