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12-year-old who lost dad to OD organizes opioid awareness event

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — Just days ago President Trump declared the opioid crisis a health emergency.

On Saturday, one 12-year-old Hoosier took it upon himself to create change in his hometown.

Tragedy has fueled young Avery Elmore to make a difference in Anderson, a city he said struggles with opioid addiction.

In May, his father, Dewayne Elmore, died of a heroin overdose with other opioid painkillers in his system.

“We never knew he was on stuff, but he said he would tell us when we got older what he did wrong,” said Avery.

Instead Avery learns and sees it first-hand all over Anderson. He said pills and needles litter his neighborhood and a nearby park.

“It’s nasty,” he said.

So Avery said enough is enough.

“It hurts everybody not just the person who does it but the people who care about them,” said Avery.

He met Justin Phillips, who runs the nonprofit Overdose Lifeline. Her son died of a heroin overdose in 2013.

“She was going around the world and talking, and then I wanted to start doing that,” said Avery.

On Saturday, Avery organized an event, with Phillips’ help, for opioid addiction awareness. Organizers gave out free Narcan, and Avery spoke about his dad to remember him and to remind everyone of the dangers of opioids.

Avery’s drive amazes his mom, Stacie Belford, too.

“Avery’s trying to inspire everybody,” she said.

His work now could be just the beginning.

“I want to go around the world and clean up other places and make an impact,” he said.

Dewayne was a dad who wanted to share his struggle with his sons. That message is one Avery is committed to delivering.

“He’s looking down; he’s pretty proud,” said Belford.

“He would be happy. Very happy,” said Avery.