Nashville Mayor Mourns Son’s Overdose Death

Nashville Mayor Mourns Son’s Overdose Death

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry returned to work on Monday for the first time since her son, Max, died of an apparent drug overdose on July 29, marking the beginning of her new “normal.”

Drug abuse—especially opioid-related—has been on the rise in the United States for the past several years.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, overdose deaths rose from roughly 23,000 in 2002 to more than 50,000 in 2012. In Tennessee alone, state health officials report the highest annual number of drug overdose deaths recorded in state history: 1,451 overdose deaths in 2015.

22-year-old Max Barry died at a private home in Colorado, near Denver. A friend had called 911 when Max was incoherent, but first responders couldn’t revive him. The Barrys are currently awaiting toxicology reports, as they do not currently know what drug or drugs were the cause of their son’s overdose death. Max had struggled with drug abuse in the past, completing a month of rehab last summer.

“Max came home last summer to visit, and it was clear to me the minute he got off the plane that he was in distress,” said Mayor Barry. “We got him into rehab immediately.”

The Barrys announced their son’s death hours after they found out, and have since been open about his overdose. Barry knows she can be a significant voice when it comes to the opioid epidemic and drug abuse awareness, even as she mourns her son.

“My hope is that it may inspire, encourage other parents out there to have frank conversations with their own children about this,” said Barry. “If that saves one life, then what a blessing.”

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