South Dakota Sees Spike In Drug Deaths

KELO Drugs Heroin

We’re in the midst of the deadliest drug crisis in American history. 

In fact, some city morgues are full because of the opioid epidemic.

In Ohio the Department of Health even has an air conditioned trailer for bodies.

Now these deadly drugs are starting to hit KELOLAND, and it’s causing a spike in deaths.

Randy Thompson thought that he’d be celebrating his son Cole’s 22nd birthday this week. Instead, he’s laying his child to rest.

“He wasn’t suicidal. He worked. He had cars. He had dreams,” Randy said.

On April 24 those dreams came to a halt. Cole died from a fentanyl overdose. The opioid is so powerful that you could die from an amount the size of a few grains of salt. 

“This is insane to think you’re going to survive this. You’re going to die. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but you’re going to die,” Randy said.

According to South Dakota’s U.S. Attorney, already this year there have been at least eight opioid overdose deaths in Minnehaha County alone. In all of South Dakota there were eight deaths last year. No one died five years ago.

“Alcohol is still the number one thing we see. Meth is probably the number two thing we see, but heroin and opioids are the fastest-growing,” Assistant VP of Avera Behavioral Health Thomas Otten said.

In fact, the deadly statistic is one of the reasons why Avera is building an $8 million Addiction Care Center in southwestern Sioux Falls.

“It’s an extremely addictive drug that is hard to get help. Honestly, it’s not something you can kick on your own or stop cold turkey. You really are going to need to seek treatment,” Otten said.

Treatment that’s too late for Cole, but this father hopes to help others by speaking out.

“Tell anybody, ‘Don’t do it. Don’t sell it. Throw it in the garbage. Twenty bucks, forty bucks. It’s not worth it. Come on,'” Randy said.

A message to prevent future mourning.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can get a free mental health assessment from Avera by calling 1-800-691-4336.

There are also several treatment centers in the area, including Keystone and Tallgrass.


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