A mother who lost her daughter to heroin addiction three years ago turned her moment of grief into a meaningful platform for change.
Tina Louden took a selfie hugging the urn that holds the remains of her daughter on August 15, the day that would have been her 28th birthday. As reported by The Washington Post, Ashley N. Shannon passed away in 2013 following a heroin overdose. She was just about to turn 25.
Louden posted the photo with the urn to Facebook — along with an emotional message.
"To my daughter's drug dealer, this is how I spend my daughter's birthday now," Louden wrote on Facebook. "I don't normally post pics like this but let's make this go viral so all the drug dealers see what they are doing to our families."
As of August 24, her Facebook post has received over 253,000 shares. Louden hopes that her heartfelt moment will create a significant impact.
"Maybe it would change somebody," she told St. Louis television station KSDK. "We live through this pain, every birthday, every holiday, it's not the same. Part of our heart is gone."
The U.S. is dealing with a growing opioid epidemic, as the CDC reports that heroin use has more than doubled in the past decade among adults under the age of 25.
To help end this crisis, some former addicts are becoming voices for change. Joyce Clark Love of Albany, who stopped using heroin 27 years ago, works as a supervisor helping other at a halfway house. And Tiffany Robinson, another former addict, is using social media to inspire current users to quit.
A Plus reached out to Louden for a comment.