William Woods coach shares story of loss for drug prevention

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COLUMBIA - Jim Marshall says losing a child is never easy.

"It hurts. It's just, you gut it out like anything tough, and you learn to cope with the pain," he said.

Marshall is a cross country coach at William Woods University. He and his wife lost their son Cody Marshall six years ago. He overdosed on heroin and Xanax when he was 20.

"There aren't a lot of parents who've had what has happened to me, losing a son, really want to get up and talk about it over and over and over again because it does hurt," Marshall said. 

But he is talking about it - a lot.

"I have presentations all week long around central Missouri and around the state since it's Red Ribbon Week for substance abuse awareness," Marshall said. 

Red Ribbon Week is a campaign designed to fight drug abuse and advocate for resources for abusers.

"There are a million things that needs to be understood about substance abuse," Marshall said, "I'm just trying to give people a higher level of knowledge or information that maybe the average person has on substance abuse and youth mental health issues."

He kicks off his week of sharing his family's story Tuesday at Tina-Avalon School and Helias Catholic School. 

Marshall said, "I'm a believer that the right thing is usually the hardest thing to do, and I believe that this is kind of what needs to be done to prevent other people from making poor choices and parents to learn more about what's going on with their kids." 

Marhsall will not stop sharing its story once the week is over. 

"I think it's a good thing, and as long as I have people telling me that the message is good, and that it's important, I'll continue to do so," he said.   

Marshall's website, Cody's-Gift resources for people suffering with abuse and their famlies.

Red Ribbon Week runs from October 21-31.

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