Opioid epidemic now taking more lives than car crashes, report says

Opioid epidemic now taking more lives than car crashes, report says

Rene Markoff has spent the past several years wondering how she could have helped her daughter overcome her drug addiction.

Her daughter, Emily, died of a heroin overdose in January 2013.

“She was just laying face down on the floor,” Markoff said. “I touched her with my toe and I said, ‘Emily what are you doing?’ I thought she was playing a joke on me. But she didn’t move. I called 911. I fell to my knees and started screaming. I couldn’t believe it. You don’t expect your children to die before you.”

Emily was prescribed Oxycontin for six months after surgery. By the time her prescription ended, she was addicted and turned to heroin.

Opioid epidemic now taking more lives than car crashes, report says

“I thought after the first time she had ever overdosed, I thought she learned her lesson,” Markoff said.

Emily would overdose a second time and a third, which would be her last.

“I think it’s one of those things you never get over,” Markoff said.

It’s something hundreds of people never get over and still deal with to this day, as the opioid epidemic continues to grip lives on all corners of the map.

“She’s not alone. That’s the thing that bothers me. There are so many people,” Markoff said.

Markoff’s story is just one of hundreds. Nearly 800 people die from opioid overdoses every week in this country. The chances of dying from an overdose now exceed the chances of dying in a car crash. It’s something we are seeing right here in Madison.

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney says his department responds to more than a dozen overdose calls a week.

“It’s heartbreaking because we know what the impact is of the abuse of opiates, we know the pattern in talking to people of how they began using painkillers and it resulted in the use of heroin,” Mahoney said.

Mahoney added the department is working with medical professionals to find ways to combat opioid overdose and use in Dane County.

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