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Valley News Dispatch

New Kensington event to support families hurt by drug addiction

Madasyn Czebiniak
| Thursday, June 14, 2018, 1:27 p.m.
The 'Speak Out Against Heroin' event will be held July 7 at King’s Family Restaurant in New Kensington.
The 'Speak Out Against Heroin' event will be held July 7 at King’s Family Restaurant in New Kensington.

Glenn Cowen knows about drug addiction and overdoses.

Cowen's daughter, Amber, struggled with drug addiction for years before dying of an overdose in May 2017. She was 33.

“It's a long, painful story. It was a roller coaster ride with her,” Cowen said, recalling the years of drug abuse and trips to the methadone clinic.

The 58-year-old New Ken-sington man is using the painful experience to try to raise awareness of addiction and overdoses and provide for support for people who suffered through similarly tragic experiences.

He helped organize “Speak Out Against Heroin,” a free event scheduled for July 7 at King's Family Restaurant in New Kensington. He hopes to hold a similar event in the fall.

Attendees who lost loved ones are asked to bring their photos to the July event and wear red shirts. There will be speakers and a balloon release.

“It's going to be — we're hoping — a community-type thing,” Cowen said. “There's enough children, people in the community that are dying from overdoses, so I would think there's quite a few family members out there hurting.”

Amber Cowen graduated from Valley High School and lived with her mother in Arnold. She left behind a son, Armani Mills, who is 9 and found his mother after she overdosed. The boy now lives with Cowen and Cowen's ex-wife.

“I know there's other families out there like that,” Cowen said, adding he hopes his event can play a healing role. “It always helps to talk to other people.”

Betsy Duncan, 52, of Butler County's Penn Township wants to speak at the event. Duncan's son, Shawn Berry, 28, died of an overdose in April 2017.

“I wasn't able to save my son, but, if I can help somebody else, that would be awesome,” she said. “So many parents are going through what I'm going through. We just have to take things one minute at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time. We never get over it, but we can get through it.”

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702, mczebiniak@tribweb.com or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.

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