Just last year, more than 1400 Tennesseans died of a drug overdose, often catching their loved ones off guard.
While the circumstances are unknown surrounding the overdose death of Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s son Max, there are many parents who understand the mayor’s pain.
Cindy Blom said she had one thought when she heard about the death of Barry’s son Max.
“I was thinking you know she’s joined a club nobody wants to be a part of,” Blom said.
It’s a club Blom joined in 2014, when her son Eric died of heroin overdose.
“He had gotten sober and then relapsed and had been homeless,” Blom said. “I would go on the coldest nights. I would bring him extra sleeping bags, and say ‘Eric are you ready to go get help’ and he’d say ‘no mom, no I’m not I can’t.'”
Mark Mabry is also a member of this painful club, losing his brother to a cocaine overdose in 2008.
“I literally had to walk into his home and kick in his bedroom door and found him dead from an overdose,” Mabry said.
For years, Mabry battled his own addiction to pain pills. A struggle than began after he lost his leg in a car crash.
He said the stigma associated with addiction is a silent killer.
“There is so much shame and so much guilt and so much darkness,” Mabry said.
Mabry is making a difference though his work at Addiction Campuses.
“I encourage people who are out there and who are struggling don’t go through this alone, please,” Mabry said. “You cannot go through this alone you can’t beat addiction on your own. Addiction campuses is a great place for people to start,” said Mabry.
Blom said the Mayor’s tragic loss is also a start.
“I thought ‘you know what, she’s my hero’,” Blom said. “She’s standing up, and she’s telling the truth and she’s helping Nashville. She’s helping Nashville to understand that this is going on and taking place in everybody’s life.”