Rally held in downtown Indianapolis to raise awareness about lethal drug use, fentanyl poisoning

Central Indiana News

INDIANAPOLIS — There will be a rally downtown Friday against lethal drugs and fentanyl poisoning. 

It’s scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. at Monument Circle. 

Hundreds of lives are claimed by these drugs in Marion County each year, and this rally aims to bring awareness and reduce those numbers.  

Tracy Rivers and Harry Bean lost two children to lethal drugs in 2019 within months of each other. They want to share their story to help others from going through what they experienced.

“It only takes one time. It only takes one use,” said Harry. 

Tracy says she came home to find her son’s body, just four months after her daughter passed.  

“That’s like the worst image, is finding your child dead,” said Tracy. 

”I don’t want any other parent to have to do that. It just totally turned my life upside down.”   

Her 25-year-old son Devin Rivers had struggled with drugs but had been clean for almost a year when she found him. 

“He was in the middle of playing a video game. His headphones were still on his head. His controller was still in his hand,” Tracy said.  

“He was playing live with people. He didn’t know he was going to die.” 

In their effort to get him help, many of the treatment centers had restrictions and high price tags. 

“They don’t have $30,000 to throw out to get clean,” Harry said. “But they do have $20 to go get whatever they want,” Tracy added. 

Now they plan on sharing their story at the rally to let others know they aren’t alone. 

“We just want to raise awareness on how it’s affecting a lot of families. And we want people who have lost people to come out and join us,” said Tracy. 

“We want people to understand, these aren’t numbers on paper, these are our loved ones that are dying,” Harry said. 

According to the Marion County Coroner’s Office, there’s been an increase in fatal drug deaths. In 2019, there were 406 deaths and that number jumped up to 638 in 2020 — a 57% increase. 

“It’s bad. It is bad. It is so heartbreaking,” said Chief Deputy Coroner Alfarena McGinty. 

“There’s an absolute risk with all of those drug overdose deaths just from exposure for our staff. So we have to be very careful with that.” 

McGinty says recently the coroner’s office has seen more deaths related to fentanyl. 

“It’s a problem that I’ve not seen in my entire career. It’s also scary to see that we’re losing so many young people to drug overdose deaths,” McGinty said. 

The drugs that killed Harry and Tracy’s son were laced with fentanyl. They say when the drugs are laced that shouldn’t be called an overdose — it should be called a murder. 

“The fact is [an] overdose it literally taking too much of an intended substance,” said Harry. 

“These people aren’t overdosing, they’re being murdered because they’re not intending to take fentanyl.” 

The rally is being put on by the Association of People Against Lethal Drugs. 

Harry and Tracy say they’ll pass out the signs and even some fentanyl test kits. They say, they aren’t promoting drug use, but for the people who are going to use, they want them to be safe. 

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