SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The proof that meth addiction continues to plague South Dakota is evident in the number of overdoses now involving the drug.
120 people have died of overdose since January of 2020 through May of this year in South Dakota.
In Minnehaha County, 7 of those deaths in 2020 were from meth. In just the first four months of this year, 9 people died in the Sioux Falls area from meth toxicity.
A grieving mother, who lost her 25-year-old son to an accidental meth overdose in April, shares the story.
Trace Smykle was born a twin 25 years ago.
“I was thrilled to have twins. I waited two years to get them. They kind of kept each other entertained and we just went with it,” Trace’s mom, Diane Eide, said.
But unlike his sister, Trace began going down the path to addiction at a young age.
“When he was 14, 15 you could kind of tell he was starting to experiment,” Eide said.
Trace ended up in the juvenile system and in and out of treatment for years.
“Very stressful; always trying to figure out the next step–trying to figure out what to do–what to do to help him. He was in lots of treatments. He went to Custer,” Eide said.
Traced landed in prison on an ingestion charge at the age of 19.
Kennecke: So prison did not help him? Prison did not get him treatment and get him better, get him well?
Diane Eide: No, prison put him in a place where there were more people, places and things involved in the drug world. He had no treatment there.
Trace’s drug of preference was usually meth.
“He said it was the only time he felt normal, was when he was using meth,” Eide said.
For more than a decade, Diane constantly worried about him and tried to help.
“Eventually when he ran out of meth, he’d call me and I’d have to go pick him up. He’d be dehydrated and exhausted and out of his mind because he hadn’t eaten, drank, or slept for days. It was terrible. He didn’t want to be addicted to drugs.”Diane Eide, on dealing with her son’s meth addiction
Trace had been doing better and had stayed off of meth for more than six months when he relapsed.
“I talked to him every day. I text him every morning. ‘Good morning, I love you.’ And he didn’t text back that day. He was alone in his apartment. He had passed away,” Eide said.
Kennecke: Did you expect him to die from meth?
Eide: No, no he used to always tell me, don’t worry mom, I use meth. People don’t die from meth.
“So far this year, we don’t have anything we’ve been able to pinpoint as the reason for more meth overdoses versus the last year, but it’s still something that’s under investigation.”Lt. Randy Brink, Sioux Falls Police Department
Diane is sharing Trace’s story in hopes of raising awareness on just how deadly meth can be and the need to better help those who are addicted.
“That these people are people and they are loved and they’re our spouses and our children and our aunts and uncles and brothers and sisters and we need to get rid of the stigma and treat it like a disease so people can get help easily,” Eide said.
Tuesday night, Trace Smykle will be among those remembered during the International Overdose Awareness Day Candlelight Vigil at the Raven Amphitheater in downtown Sioux Falls next to the Arc of Dreams, which will be lit up in purple, the color to recognize the overdose epidemic. The free event starts at 7:30 p.m. If you’ve lost a loved one to overdose and would like your loved one’s name read aloud during the ceremony, fill out the form on this link.