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It affects all of us: Businesses change policies to fight opioid crisis

South Bend businesses began feeling the effects one after another as overdoses were being reported left and right.

On ‘Facebook Live’ in September 2016, a man shot footage and broadcasted it to strangers of a man overdosing outside a gas station at the corner of Lafayette and LaSalle downtown.

We covered this story then. That man was taken to the hospital and survived. But that isn’t always the outcome.

In December 2015, just feet away from that exact spot a 26-year-old mother died. She was found at the taco bell restaurant. Police say she died from a heroin overdose in the public restroom.

Since her deadly overdose, at least 95 more people to date have died in St. Joseph County alone.

City Food Mart gas station, where the first O.D. we told you about happened, has chosen to make some changes to daily operations.

The general manager tells me drug users consistently use the restroom here to get high. He says one of the main drugs being used is heroin. So he’s limited use of their restrooms to all of customers to prevent the issue by locking it until being asked for the key.

In other instances, the manager says much like that overdose caught on camera, addicts will loiter near pumps and in the parking lot until he asks them to leave.

This epidemic stems from an addictive substance no bigger than the size of a paper clip.

Opioids have no boundaries in terms of age, gender, or social status. No one is exempt from becoming part of the epidemic that is now shaking the country to its core.

It has been declared a National Emergency by The President and now, the United States is confronting the deadliest drug crisis on record.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, in 2014, more than 240 million prescriptions were written for opioids. That’s nearly enough for every single American adult to get their own bottle of pills.

It is now the leading cause of accidental deaths of Americans under the age of 50, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and 4 in 5 new heroin users started out by misusing prescription painkillers in the first place. 15,000 people died from then in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and now, one in every four people you come across can’t stop taking them.

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