Thursday, a northeastern Oklahoma woman who has turned her loss into helping others has received an international award.
Layla Freeman received the Drug Enforcement Administration's National Community Drug Prevention Award.
Layla Freeman’s daughter died from a drug overdose seven years ago. Since then, she’s made it her mission to educate students and families about drug addiction and prevention.
“My heart broke, and it’s an empty hole in my heart forever; every single day I think of her. But I have to turn that pain into purpose," said Freeman.
That purpose Layla Freeman found is in Light of Hope. A non-profit that’s getting national attention for educating thousands of northeastern Oklahoma students on drug prevention.
“It shows them what a prescription narcotic is how to read a label. What it is if it’s not secure and what to do with it. What it does if you actually take a dosage and how it affects your body," said David King.
King is the DEA Resident in Charge of Tulsa and said opioid addiction has been climbing in Oklahoma for several years and is even worse in recent months. He said the DEA is hoping Light of Hope's free drug education program presented in the schools can change Oklahoma's future.
“A change in the trend of kids growing up and understanding what the affects are of narcotics and hoping that it will curb the addiction and really the fatalities that are sweeping across the nation," said King.
Deaths that Layla is working hard every day to prevent.
“I know that she shines down on me every single day thanking me for what I’ve done. For what we’ve done. My team is a critical part of why Light of Hope is so successful," said Freeman.