Brian Kelly (@brpkelly)

BRIGHTON, Ill. (KMOX) – When the scourge of heroin hit the family of a Metro-East woman, she decided to do something to keep other families from facing the same crisis.

Now, thousands of people on the east side and throughout North America are wearing her effort.

They are brightly colored bracelets that read: “Stop Heroin,” “Say No 2 Drugs,” and “Don’t Use Heroin…DUH.”

Candy Liley says she came up with the idea after one of her daughters and her fiance became addicted.

A short time later, she realized how effective the bracelets could be when her daughter wore one to work.

“That night, she had seven employees talk to her about how they had it in their family. These bracelets open the door for discussion,” Liley says.

She hopes that they do even more than that.

“If it’s a recovering addict and they’re having a bad day, they’re thinking about using, they’re going to look a their bracelet and say, ‘Oh yeah, I don’t want to do that, again.'”

In one case, Liley says, a friend gave one to a recovering addict.

“He said, ‘Oh my God! You don’t know how much you just probably saved my life. I just lost my job and my apartment and I was thinking about going and using today, and now I’m not.'”

Liley has teamed up with the Madison County Coroner, Troy police and others to distribute the bracelets to school children.

She’s also sent them to people from across the country and Canada. Liley has distributed over 10,000 bracelets, and has more than 20,000 on hand.

Her next step is turning her effort into a non-profit. Her Candy’s Stop Heroin Foundation has more than 4,000 friends on Facebook.

Liley has opened a bank account in its name at Liberty Bank, and is now waiting for state approval so it can become a tax-exempt 501(c)3.

“I just want to keep buying bracelets,” she says, “and keep giving them out!”

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