TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo alone has seen 67 confirmed overdose deaths since the beginning of 2019.
Additionally, there have been more than 880 non-fatal overdoses, Narcan has been administered 704 times and 200 people have refused care after an overdose. While these are the official reported numbers from Toledo Fire and Rescue, it's likely much more.
Tammy Meredieth and Angelia Gunter are part of a support group called Families After Addiction or Death also known as FAAD.
"My son's an addict and he's been for about 15 years now, so I've been involved for a long time," Meredieth said.
"It's important for me to come to FAAD, number one, as an addiction survivor myself," Gunter said.
In FAAD, counting deaths is far more than just a number.
"It's actual names, faces, people that I know, so I don't look at it as a number, it's a family member," Meredieth said.
"You try to keep a wall up, but it's very hard to keep those boundaries. You hear of so many people you know going out. Just one time and that's all it takes and they're gone," Gunter said.
For Gunter and first responders, they have seen how an attempt to get high is a risk of death every time, especially now as Toledo sees more drugs laced with Fentanyl and Carafentanyl.
"It's as simple as you're playing Russian Roulette with yourself right now. That's just what it comes down to at the end of the day, and I'm not playing that game with myself," Gunter said.
It took both women some time to reach out for help, but they said FAAD is an important part of their lives now.
For families of addicts and people currently battling addiction, the women have some advice.
"They don't want to hear the truth, but if they keep coming and they keep listening and they come here to learn, they change and they grow," Meredieth said.
"I would just say plain and simple, just give it a chance. If you don't like it and you hate it, the drugs are always going to be there, the streets will always be there waiting for you, but what is it going to hurt? It may change your life," Gunter said.