Empty shoes and balloons puts opioid epidemic in perspective at the state capital

Posted at 3:57 PM, Aug 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-31 18:00:51-04

280 empty pairs of shoes represent each person who died because of an overdose in 2017, the display of those shoes and balloons created a powerful message on how prevalent opioids are in Idaho.

The display was organized by Chris Mechem who runs one of the Phoenix Sober Living houses in the Treasure Valley.

"These are deaths that are preventable and unless people understand that they can do something to stop that, there is no hope of recovery from them tomorrow," said Mechem.

Two mothers who lost their kids were on hand to share their story and both pointed towards needing more resources to fight this epidemic.

"I wish I could have gotten her into treatment in 2015 when she first started trying," said Kristy Ramirez who lost her daughter a little over a year ago. "There was nowhere for her to go after detox, there were no treatment options because she was uninsured."

Speakers included a judge from the Ada County Drug Court, a representative from the Allumbaugh House, the Idaho RADAR Center and the Idaho Office of Drug Control Policy.