GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — In Michigan, more people die from drug overdoses than car crashes.
Statistics aren't yet available for 2018, but of the 2,700 overdose deaths in Michigan in 2017, nearly 2,000 of them were opioid related.
Twenty years ago, fewer than 100 Michiganders died from overdosing on opioids.
According to the Kent County Health Department, as of Jan. 2, there were 109 total drug overdose deaths in 2018. About 80 percent of those, were opioid related. Every month The Red Project distributes around 250 life saving emergency kits in Kent County.
"When people die, dead is dead, there's no recovery after that," The Red Project Recovery Programming Manager Katie Sheeran said.
Sheeran is committed to preventing overdoses.
"I see a lot of people die everyday," Sheeran said.
She's responsible for handing out Narcan kits.
"Anybody and everybody should have access to a kit," Sheeran said.
One hundred fifty miles away, Darlene Owens with the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority is working around the clock to teach the Detroit community how to use it.
"Wayne County is still leading the overdose deaths in the state," Owens said.
Day and night, seven days a week, Owens is training others to reverse overdoses.
"Right now we are booked up until September 2019," Owens said. "Every life is important. I don't care who you are—everyone. No one grows up asking to be someone that's addicted to drugs."
In Kent County, The Red Project hands out Narcan kits every day.
"Since this morning, we've handed out six kits to three individuals," Sheeran said.
At The Red Project, you can pick up Narcan for free along with lessons on how to administer.
Since beginning to distribute it in 2015, The Red Project has distributed more than 8,000 kits.
"Since we've started collecting the reversal data in 2015, we've had over 900 successful reversals reported back to us," Sheeran said.
Out of the 109 total overdose deaths in Kent County last year, 79 were opioid related, 38 of those from fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
"We all know someone, we have friends, families that are addicted to this issue and we all should be there to help save somebody's life," Owens said.
These are relatively fluid numbers, health officials are still waiting on 14 additional toxicology reports to come back.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.