Free grief support sessions offered for those who lost loved ones to substance abuse

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — In 2015, 82 people in Baton Rouge died from an opioid overdose. Gwen Knox’s son was one of them.

“He had this great personality. And his sense of humor covered his pain,” said Knox.

Six years later, Knox is keeping Brian’s name alive.

Capital Area Human Services is teaming up with Knox to offer eight free grief support sessions to family members who are feeling the same pain as her.

As of December 1st, Baton Rouge broke a record of 236 fatal opioid overdoses this year.

“We used to see cocaine overdose, meth overdose, now look at the numbers,” said East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore. “It’s outrageous; it’s all opioid fentanyl versus non-opioid deaths.”

Moore is predicting 335 fatal overdoes at the end of the year. 242 people died from an overdose in 2020.

Capital Area Human Services Executive Director Jan Laughinghouse said their services have increased since the start of the pandemic.

“The need increases. About 90 percent of the people who need treatment never access it,” she said.

Knox will also focus on helping families understand the brain disease of substance abuse disorder, the nature of grief, managing difficult emotions, coping and making needed adjustments, handling special occasions, blame, embarrassment, grief reactions, sudden death and its effects.

“He had a brain disease that I wasn’t even aware of,” Knox said.

She said helping others is something she will always be dedicated to.

“People come to me for help but they don’t realize they’re helping me,” she said.

Those interested in the sessions can pre-register by calling 225-925-1906.

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