canada africa partner reservation Mother honors her son’s legacy on International Mother’s Day for surviving relatives – Indianapolis News | Weather Indiana | Indiana traffic

Mother honors her son’s legacy on International Mother’s Day for surviving relatives – Indianapolis News | Weather Indiana | Indiana traffic

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Sunday is International Mother’s Bereaved Day, a day aimed at honoring every mother who has experienced the loss of a child or is unable to have children.

The day falls on the first Sunday of May every year. This year it falls a week before Mother’s Day, on May 12.

For Justin Phillips, the day is used as a way to honor the life of her son, Aaron Phillips, and continue her work as an advocate for all those affected by substance abuse disorder.

At the age of 20, Aaron Phillips died in 2013 due to a heroin overdose. He attended Lawrence North High School and was a standout football player, known for his love of skateboarding.

In 2012, he told his mother he was struggling with drug use and said he needed help. His family worked to get him that help through treatment.

Justin Phillips said at the time that she didn’t know how deadly opioids could be, likely because very few people knew about their danger.

“I didn’t know he could overdose so easily and lose his life,” Justin Phillips said.

Less than two months after Aaron Phillips died, his mother learned of a potentially life-saving drug: Naloxone.

“I heard about Naloxone, some people call it Narcan, 45 days after Aaron lost his life,” Justin Phillips said. “I was shocked that there was a drug that no one had told us about.”

That moment changed the trajectory of her life and gave her a new mission. Then Overdose Lifeline was born.

As the nonprofit’s founder and CEO, Justin Phillips and her team are working to deliver Naloxone kits and Fentanyl test strips across the state.

In addition to this statewide distribution, the organization offers a variety of support programs for anyone who has lost a loved one, training groups, mentoring groups, free children’s camps and a women’s recovery center.

For a full list of the work they do and information about camps and support group meetings, click here.

In 2015, Governor Mike Pence signed into law “Aaron’s Law,” which gives anyone access to Naloxone without a prescription. A 2016 amendment to that bill made changes to the need for standing orders, meaning many pharmacy chains in the state now offer the nasal spray form of Naloxone, according to their site.

As Justin Phillips’ advocacy work continues, she is using this year’s International Bereaved Mother’s Day as a way to remind other mothers who have lost a child or are unable to have a child that they are not alone.

“I just think it’s important to recognize this,” Justin Phillips said. “Often people don’t want to talk to you about the child you’ve lost because they think it’s too sad for you, but it’s the exact opposite. We want to talk about them, we want to remember them, we want to say their names.”