Opioids continue to lead to the most drug overdoses in the United States, with more than a 70% increase this year than in previous years, according to the CEO of a local drug and alcohol recovery program.
"For the first time ever, overdose death surpasses auto accidents as a cause of death," said Vann Ellison, CEO and President of St. Matthews House.
Ellison has been in this work for over 30 years and says overdose deaths are off the charts, especially for young people.
He said, "It can happen at any age and anywhere, and there's no family that is really immune from this."
Speaking from experience, Ellison recalls when he struggled with addiction as a 22-year-old.
"I went to a medical hospital, expected to die and came back to my parents house on Christmas Eve," he said. "With no place to go, I weighed 119 pounds."
After that moment, he says he began to change for the better and now works to help people fight similar battles he once did.
Justin's Place is a year long structured drug and alcohol recovery program that has over a 90% success rate with recovering addicts. Most people come in with no money or insurance, so Ellison said they all need financial support to pay for the cost of care they are providing to them.
For more information on the nonprofit and how to donate or help, click here.