BUTTE — Butte’s opioid addiction issue was once hidden in cold back alleys, but now city leaders say it’s time to bring the issue out into the public.
“I’m here today to talk about my son—I can’t do it,” Tom Schrapps breaks down in a video posted on the Keep Butte Safe website.
The videos are gut-wrenching and difficult to watch. And that’s the point.
“They’re so emotional and hard to watch because you see the pain of a dad, you see the pain of a mom,” said Butte Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher.
Butte has released a series of video testimonials about the dangers of fentanyl-laced pills that have caused an alarming increase in overdoses in the Mining City.
“We’re calling it the shock campaign because we want people to really see what the impacts of this is to a family life,” said Gallagher.
Laurie Johnson has had a family member struggling with an opioid addiction for years.
“He lost his home, he has been on the street, he’s been in and out of trap houses. It’s just been a real struggle and it’s torn some of the family apart,” said Johnson.
Butte held an emergency community meeting in September in response to six reported overdose deaths in the city. The chief executive said he had a connection to some of the victims.
“Two of them I coached, one I had when I was a teacher in my classroom and another one played sports with my son,” said Gallagher.
Officials are hoping the “One Pill Can Kill” message will be strong enough to prevent more tragedies.
The videos feature parents like Schrapps who have lost loved ones to fentanyl, as well as Butte emergency responders and law enforcement. The stories are being shared on social media, broadcast on television, and can be viewed at Keep Butte Safe.