Website remembers victims of opioid abuse - WNEM TV 5

Website remembers victims of opioid abuse

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

An interactive site is memorializing people across the state who lost their battle against opioid addiction.

The map is not only remembering opioid victims, but it also shows the deaths are more than just a number. They're real people who left behind grieving families.

It is happening all across the country and it's a problem that doesn't seem to be ending. The website 'Celebrating Lost Loved Ones' shows people across the nation and Mid-Michigan.

Opioid addiction is a problem plaguing communities nationwide. Now the website is remembering victims of what many are calling a national epidemic.

"The stuff I was able to look at I thought it was a great website. I mean, it gives people a chance to memorialize their children or their loved ones that they've lost due to heroin," said Terry Hanley.

Hanley lost his son Zack to a heroin overdose four years ago. Since then he has been working to raise awareness about heroin and opioid addiction. He said the Celebrating Lost Loved Ones website and its interactive map is a great tool to show just how close to home opioid addiction can hit.

"Unfortunately there's a lot of people out there that are going through this with a child loss or a family member that they've lost due to opioid abuse. So I think with this website, you know if you are just a general person that says it's not my child, you get the chance to go on there and say 'well look at these people we've lost,'" Hanley said.

Last year more than 30,000 people from across the U.S. died due to opioid abuse. Several hundred of those who died were from Michigan.

Hanley is hoping President Donald Trump will declare opioid addiction an official epidemic, which could send federal relief funds to local communities offering treatment and housing.

While Hanley is hoping for action, he said the Celebrating Lost Loved Ones website is another visual reminder of the battle being fought across the nation.

"It's amazing you know, there's 90 or 100 people in one little city that have lost their lives due to opioid abuse. So I think the more people noticing this website, you'll see more and more pictures unfortunately going on there and make it reality," Hanley said.

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