South Carolina woman finishes 2,575-mile opioid awareness walk

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Photo credit: Florida Keys News Bureau

A South Carolina woman has reached the Florida Keys, completing a 2,575-mile walk to give attention to the opioid overdose crisis.

Jessie Grieb finished her East Coast Overdose Awareness Walk Friday at Key West's Southernmost Point in the Continental U.S. marker. Friday marked the fourth anniversary of her brother Brian's death by accidental overdose. Grieb's boyfriend succumbed to heroin, and she has struggled herself with addiction since she was 17.

She said for every mile she walked, someone in the U.S. passed away from overdose. The Pawleys Island resident started her journey in Fort Kent, Maine, July 28, 2018, after she had suffered a relapse.

During her journey, she stayed in police and fire stations, as well as with friends and supporters. To help carry supplies, Grieb pushed a small cart named "Lieutenant Dan" in honor of the "Forrest Gump" character who dealt with addiction in the movie.

When she arrived in Key West, supporters joined Grieb in the southernmost point of the continental U.S., carrying banners with photso of nearly 500 overdose victims. 

"I just hope this can inspire people that are dealing with addiction and grief. I've been struggling with both of those things for years now," Grieb said. "It's just a matter of not giving up and pushing forward."

After arriving in Key West, the mayor presented Grieb with a symbolic key to the city.

LINK: For more information on the East Coast Overdose Awareness Walk, head over to Grieb's website.