Orange County families fight to save lives week of Overdose Awareness Day

Every year since 2001, nations around the globe dedicate a day to raise awareness, end the stigma, and remember loved ones who were lost as a result of an overdose. 

International Overdose Awareness Day takes place on August 31. 

Alexander Neville was only 14-years-old when he died of fentanyl poisoning. His picture was placed on a chain link fence at a Laguna Hills skate park along with dozens of others to mark International Overdose Awareness Day.

Jodi Barber of Orange County is a known advocate after losing her teen son, Jarrod, to addiction ten years ago. The young athlete got addicted to prescription pain pills after breaking his collarbone when he was 17. He died of an overdose when he was 19.

Sadly, new families, like Amy Neville were at the Monday memorial and share in the grief. Of her son Alexander, she says "one pill killed him."  

Greg Grothjan knows that heartache himself. He was at the fence to honor his late son and called the support " a lifesaver."

Mission Viejo councilman Greg Rath joined Barber in handing out a new product, Detera, that dissolves unneeded prescription medications that are often stolen by kids from a parent's medicine cabinet. Barber also gives away NARCAN. She says "you just spray it into the nostril when you see an overdose and it just brings them back." 

Barber's eldest son would have been 30 this month.  Barber has also worked to prosecute doctors who overprescribe prescription medications as was an issue in her son's case.  Neville says her son bought the pill laced with Fentanyl over the social media app Snapchat.

International Overdose Awareness day began in 2001 in Australia. In 2019, events took place in 39 countries.