POLSON - Fentanyl poisoning deaths are plaguing our nation, and Montana is no exception.
MTN News attended a memorial march in Polson to see how survivors and families are bringing attention to this crisis.
“This is the biggest issue on a reservation right now, number one. I've seen fentanyl take everything from people, everything. I've lost so much of my time, my life, to fentanyl addiction I can't believe I was wasting my life," said Magnus Harlow who is a recovering addict and part of Faces of Hope.
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The Faces of Hope — which is a fentanyl addiction awareness group — recently held a memorial march and informational gathering in Polson. A big part of the day was hearing from recovering addicts who helped start this group.
“My higher power has kept me here for a reason. And I feel like this is my purpose, to bring awareness, to help people get help, to find help and know there's a better way to live," said Cierra Coon, recovering addict and part of Faces of Hope.
Addicts, family members and families of people who lost their loved ones to fentanyl marched down the highway to bring awareness to the fentanyl epidemic, and the fact that it is an issue in their community.
“It's very scary. It's very scary around here. We've had three deaths in the last 30 days and many more prior to that,” Coon told MTN News.
Recovering addicts shared their stories to let others who are struggling know that with hope and family and friends, things can change.
“Five months ago I was stuck in a room and I was wasting away And it just took a little bit of time to change my life for my son," Harlow recalled. "This is my son Atreyu, and this guy's the most important thing in the world to me. It starts with me. And it starts with all these guys.”
All of the recovering addicts expressed that their lives are better now that they are in recovery.
“It destroyed me as a person. I gave up all of my morals, all my values. And I didn't think that I would ever find hope to get better," Coon said. But I'm really thankful that I did. For the first time, I feel like I have a purpose in life and it's thanks to my recovery.”
The nationwide Facing Fentanyl organization, established Aug. 21 as National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day, but here in Montana, it was recognized on Aug. 27. Although it was a different day, the message was clear; the nation is facing a fentanyl crisis.
“And I think this is the start of something great. I feel like I feel it in my heart that this is the start of something great that we're taking a stand for fentanyl. We do recover,” Harlow said.