Pickerington couple vows to fight back against the opioid crisis

Heartache prompts a Pickerington Couple to fight back against the opioid epidemic. (WSYX/WTTE)

Heartache prompts a Pickerington Couple to fight back against the opioid epidemic.

They lost not one or two family members to drugs, but nine.

"We've lost nieces, nephews, great-nieces," said Diana and Mike Yoder.

The couple says they all died of the same disease: the addiction to opioids.

"All of this has been within an 18-month period," said Mike Yoder.

The last two death shook the family to their core. At the funeral for Diana's nephew, she stood by the casket, talking to her nephew's son.

"I went over to the casket and said, 'Listen. You don't have to end up here. Promise me you'll get help," Diana said.

But he didn't get the help he needed. And 10 days later, he was dead.

"It was from a heroin-type relationship," said Mike Yoder.

"And we just thought, 'this is crazy' and we started doing some research on the crisis," said Diana.

They say they didn't want opioids to take another family member's life. So they started investigating, but finding trustworthy help they say was a challenge.

"She and I had to learn the hard way about being able to find out where to go, where do you get help, who do you reach out to," said Mike.

Now, they're using what they learned to help make it easier for other families. The couple is co-chairing Ohio's chapter of the "Addiction Policy Forum," a federal initiative helping families struggling with addiction.

"The goal of the addiction policy forum for the state of Ohio is to find families that are in crisis, help educate those families with what addiction really is and then to help them find reliable resource," said Diana Yoder.

Those resources are now listed in the "ARC": The Addiction Resource Center. It's a hub of knowledge, so families don't have to struggle to find the information they need.

To get more information on the Addiction Resource Center's website.

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