Man fights "invisible epidemic" with education

Jim Marshall speaks to students at William Woods Wednesday.

Westminster track and field coach Jim Marshall's son, Cody, was just 20 years old when he passed away on September 27, 2011; he had been in a coma for three days after overdosing on heroin, Xanax and K2.

Marshall told a crowd of students at William Woods University Wednesday that Cody's slip into heroin addiction, what he calls the "invisible epidemic," followed the same pattern as most addicts; Cody turned to self medicating to combat depression, and when illegally purchasing Xanax became too expensive he turned to heroin for a cheaper fix.

Marshall said many young students don't think of prescription pills when describing drug abuse and addiction. But in reality, many heroin addicts start by abusing prescription pills as a coping mechanism for things like depression or anxiety. The pills serve as the gateway to heroin.

"I just think we haven't covered it specifically enough, so kids are making poor choices because they don't have enough knowledge before they make these choices," Marshall said.

Marshall is pushing for better drug education in schools for both parents and students. He said addiction does not discriminate based on age, race, or socioeconomic status, and the best way to prevent overdose deaths is to cut the demand rather than the supply.

For more information on Jim and Cody Marshall, you can click here.