Kim’s Walk about drugs, prevention

womanSomething wasn’t right.

The mother sensed it. Her daughter had lost her job. Her appearance deteriorated. The tone of her voice changed. So did her behavior.

Lori Kraviec did what she thought she should and told her 19-year-old, Kimberly Hamm, of her worries. She asked her questions. She told her she suspected she was smoking pot. Her daughter said she wasn’t. She let it be.

On Nov. 10, 2005, her daughter died of a methadone overdose.

“When you’d ask her questions, she would never admit to doing anything,” Kraviec said. “Even when I had proof she was smoking marijuana she would never admit it, but I didn’t know she was doing other stuff. I suspected something was going 

on, but I didn’t know it was to this (extent). She had lost her job. She was one that just always worked. She loved money and shopping. Her appearance started to be different. She constantly had her hair done professionally. She had her nails done professionally. When she stopped doing that, we knew something was going on.

‘I just thought there was something going on. I just thought she was depressed or something.”

Not wanting anyone else to be surprised with the horror of the death of a loved one from drug addiction, Kraviec organized Kim’s Walk. This year’s event, the third annual, will begin at 10:30 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, starting and ending at First Church of the Nazarene, 233 W. Church St. Registration begins at 10 a.m.

“It took me a while,” Kraviec said, of her decision to start the event. “I just felt something needed to be done, but I couldn’t figure out what. I found they did away with D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) because they didn’t have funding.”

A conversation with a police officer led her to Jody Demo-Hodgins, director for Crawford-Marion Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services.

Proceeds from Kim’s Walk will go to Marion-Crawford Prevention Programs, which is housed in the ADAMH office at 142 S. Prospect St. ADAMH contracts with the organization to provide substance abuse prevention programming for elementary age youth in Marion County. The board also funds prevention services for Marion and Crawford counties for students in grades 6 through 12.

“I think it takes a lot of courage, a lot of empathy for other people, to say, ‘I went through this horrible experience, and I want to spare anybody else from doing that,’ because I know she was so very devoted to her daughter,” Demo-Hodgins said.

“Sometimes people just struggle with loss like that. Lori made the choice to do something. She wanted to be able to reach out to young people and give them the opportunity to be aware of the negative consequences of drug abuse. I can’t say enough about Lori and her willingness to take some action about a program.”

Jodi Galloway, director for Marion-Crawford Prevention Programs, said the proceeds will go toward helping to send two students to the Ohio Teen Institute Convention this summer. Teen Institute aims to develop in its participants the skills to become a positive leader within their schools and communities.

“We have so many people in the community who ask, ‘What can we do?’ Galloway said, referring to Kim’s Walk. “Here’s a perfect example of something they can physically do. It would be nice to see a large turnout.”

Demo-Hodgins estimated 90 to 100 people will participate. Each of the first two events collected about $500. Deadline for registering to participate and receive at T-shirt has passed, but others are welcome to register at a cost of $15 to participate officially, but not receive a T-shirt.

Looking back at her experience, Kraviec offered the following advice to people who are worried a loved one may be using drugs.

“I would say never take ‘No,’ they’re not doing anything (for an answer),” she said. “Check it out. There’s ways. Just be nosy. Follow them, whatever you have to do to find out the truth. They’ll thank you in the long run. If it’s something to this (extent), it’s worth being nosy.”

She recommended going so far as to purchase over-the-counter drug tests to administer to their loved one. “They may not like it, but if they‘re not doing anything they’d have no reason why they wouldn’t take it.”

Kraviec said she hopes by holding Kim’s Walk to help others prevent their loved ones from losing their lives to drugs.

“She had friends that knew what she was doing, but as a parent she didn’t come out and tell me what she was doing,” she said. “It was kind of a secret keep-it-away-from-mom sort of thing. She was two weeks shy of her 20th birthday. I don’t know how long she’d been taking it, but later on we kind of felt she’d been doing it for a while, because we had learned the side effects of these different types of drugs. We saw signs afterward, but we didn’t see them then.”

Kim’s Walk, she hopes, will open the eyes of others to the preventable sorrow of drug addiction before it’s too late. Article Link…

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