Overdose awareness more important than ever as families struggle during pandemic

Ida Wyland knew Monday would be difficult, but she couldn’t be more driven to power through.   

“If I could help save one person’s life, this will all be worth it,” she told FOX 13.  

Monday marks International Overdose Awareness Day, and just five months ago she lost her son Jarred. 

“He went to sleep and never woke up,” she said. 

She says her son thought he was taking Xanax, but turned out to be laced laced with fentanyl, an extremely deadly drug that turns out is also cheap -- and that’s why street drugs are laced with fentanyl.  

“It’s indescribable. There’s no words to put the emptiness and the loneliness that I’ll never see his face on Earth here again. It’s a sad feeling,” Wyland continued. 

She never thought this could happen to her family and she spoke to us to encourage others to know the signs of drug use and overdose.  

Monday is also about reducing the stigma surrounding drug-related deaths and remembering those who died or who have suffered.

In 2019, around 70,000 Americans died after overdosing. This year, with the loneliness and depression surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, that number expected to be 20 to 40 percent higher.  

This story was reported from St. Petersburg, Fla.