Mich. woman wants to raise awareness of opioid epidemic

Nicole Hayden
Times Herald

Port Huron — Since her son died from a drug overdose on Jan. 1, Marie Gerow has observed many other parents lose their children to the same fate.

Gerow’s son, Danny, 25, was one of three overdose deaths reported in Port Huron in less than 24 hours between Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. Danny was clean of his opioid addiction until he relapsed on heroin.

Gerow wants the epidemic to stop.

For National Drug Overdose Awareness Day, she has organized an event for noon Aug. 31 at the boardwalk in Algonac. She would like everyone to wear purple and to form a human chain to bring attention to the rising opioid crisis.

“My son wasn’t just another (opioid) number to me,” Gerow said. “If Danny were alive, he would be so proud to know that people are working to make a change. I won’t let this go. I know it won’t bring Danny back, but I am going to keep pushing.”

Gerow said it made her day when President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency.

Gerow is hoping that as more people are aware of the problem and more people talk about it, it will encourage more resources to be brought to the community for those seeking help.

She would like to eliminate the stigma that is attached to drug addiction, too.

“The event isn’t just for my son, but all the ‘Danny’s,’ ” she said.

At the time of Danny’s death, he was on a waiting list to get into a detox and rehabilitation center.

Gerow said an organization such as Hope Not Handcuffs would have been beneficial to have in the community at that time and hopes it is a resource that is brought to the county.

While her son’s death is still under investigation, she said she still wants someone held accountable.

In a previous Times Herald story, she said she believes her son died somewhere else and someone, possibly the drug dealer, dumped his body in Detroit.