Group gathers in Greenville to tackle overdose issues


WINTERVILLE, Pitt County - The news about overdoses keeps getting worse in our country.

The number of people dying has skyrocketed in recent years. Overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50. Thursday was a day set aside to raise awareness about the problem. Hundreds gathered at H. Boyd Lee Park in Greenville in support of those battling addiction and those lost to overdoses. One mother at the event remembered her son she lost in 2012. Five years ago, Diannee Carden-Glenn lost her son, Michael, to a heroin overdose. He struggled with drug use for years and up until his death, worked to help others recover. "We talked about what would happen if something were to happen to him, because if you are a parent of someone who is using, that's always in the back of your mind," Carden-Glenn said. After his death, Carden-Glenn carried on her son's message, working as an advocate for those fighting similar battles. "I met more and more parents that had children who had stories similar to his," Carden-Glenn said. She said events like International Overdose Awareness Day are vital in educating the public about the realities of addiction. Elanie Wainwright, who organized the event at H. Boyd Lee Park, said the goal was to help remove the stigma surrounding overdoses and addictions. "I think when people think of addiction, they think of people living in a box under a bridge," Wainwright said. "They don't think of the kid who grew up playing baseball and had his whole life ahead of him." Carden-Glenn said she's glad to contribute to that in some way and to carry on her son's mission of helping others. "There are still tears, there are still bad days," Carden-Glenn said. "I feel that now I can do his work in his honor, and so it's not about me." Special guest speakers were in attendance and tables offering resources to those battling addiction as well as their loved ones were available.