Sometimes it’s prescription pills.
“I tried to take her away from the drugs and all she would tell me is, ‘Mom, it helps with the pain,'” mother Nicole Westrup said.
In other cases it’s heroin or fentanyl.
“I know that whoever sold Cole the drugs didn’t intend to kill him, but they’re killing people,” father Randy Thompson said.
Nationally, 175 people die of a drug overdose every day. That’s one person every eight minutes.
In the Sioux Falls area, there have been at least 20 overdose deaths since the beginning of the year.
“It’s unprecedented–the number. Many of those are related to heroin or fentanyl or a combination,” Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said.
Ask any state, local or federal official and they’ll tell you we are in the middle of an opioid crisis.
The victims include toddlers, teenagers, 20-somethings and even grandparents. They come from all walks of life.
“We don’t know who it’s going to affect next. Drugs just aren’t for poor people. Drug addiction affects everyone. Socioeconomics play no part in it,” drug court Judge Pat Riepel said.
That reality is hitting more families everyday.
In this KELOLAND News Special Report, we’ll share the stories of people overcome by this dangerous addiction and we’ll show you the grief families are going through. We’re also taking a look at the local efforts by doctors and law enforcement to get ahead of the opioid epidemic. And we’re looking at local and national resources. We’ll let you know what’s available, how you can help and what our community needs. Visit our Opioid Crisis page on KELOLAND.com for these stories and resources.