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2 Williamson County Families Heading Up Forum on Addiction in Young People

Two Williamson County families are organizing an upcoming forum designed to educate the community about addiction in young people and how to have tough conversations about it in their own homes.

The event, called Breaking the Silence, follows a similar forum organized in February by Brentwood parents Liz and Yarnell Beatty. They lost their son, Alex, to a drug overdose in June 2016.

The next Breaking the Silence forum will be held 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Nashville, 5110 Franklin Pike.

Franklin residents Mark and Karen Witthauer, who lost their son, Greg, to a heroin overdose in April 2017, first met the Beattys at the February forum.

Like the Beattys, the Witthauers also mobilized after their son's death to raise awareness about addiction and help break down the stigma that often stops families from talking about it.

The most important thing families can do who have lost a loved one to addiction is find a network of support, Karen Witthauer said.

"You can’t do this alone. There is no way we could’ve done this without a support system," she said.

Witthauer doesn't want anyone else to endure what her family went through.

The forum will include a large group setting with speakers who are experts on addiction. That will be followed by a question and answer session directed toward teenagers and families.

Representatives from various treatment organizations will be available after the event for anyone seeking one-on-one assessments or advice on how to help loved ones struggling with addiction.

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