"I don't want to let his death define his life, but we have to have a frank conversation about how he died," she said about her son, 22-year-old Max Barry. She referred to his past struggles with drugs and his treatment in a rehab program last summer.
In late July, after he died, Barry asked for privacy as she and her husband face life "without his laughter and love."
"I don't know what combination killed my son," she said, "but drugs did it."
A record breaking 52,000 Americans died of overdoses in 2015, according to a report by the Associated Press, a number that they reported is expected to rise as come data is compiled.
Barry, through her son's death and platform as a public figure, helped to put a human face on the crisis.
"Our hearts will always be sad and empty because we can never replace our child," Barry said.
She said that police came to her home at 3 a.m. to inform her about her son's death and that she initially thought that an officer died in the line of duty before they told her the news.
"If you see something, have a frank conversation yourself," she said, advising parents who might be in a similar situation on how to tackle the problem.
ABC News' Jason Volack contributed to this report.