NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Drug addiction is claiming lives, but not always in the way you would expect.
Suicides among those addicted to drugs are becoming more and more common.
The Marshall-Sayers family is heartbroken after their son and brother, Dustin, committed suicide, turning their world upside down.
In the midst of their pain, they said nothing is more important than sharing his story in the hope that it might help someone else.
“I never wanted to give up on him, I just, our conversations were always, ‘I’ve got this, mom, I don’t need help.’ And he knew he did,” Pamela Marshall said.
Dustin’s brother, Gary Sayers, and sister Dawna Sayers have been clean for two years. They saw Dustin just last week and said he wasn’t looking good.
“He hugged me so tight. He never, I had never felt anything like that from my brother and he said if anything happened to him, to look for him,” Gary said. “I didn’t put two and two together.”
To them, Dustin finally seemed serious about going into treatment.
“He had a bed Monday morning. I got that phone call about 8:00 in the morning, 7:30, and I told his sponsor it’s too late,” Dawna said.
Trumbull County has one of the highest suicide rates per capita. Last year, it saw 39 suicides. Of those, 48 percent were related to drugs or alcohol.
“We in the behavioral health field see a direct correlation between the drug use and…hopelessness, and deciding to take their own life,” said April Caraway, with the county’s Mental Health and Recovery Board.
Dustin’s story doesn’t end here. His family is committed to fighting addiction in his honor.
“I’m gonna do everything I can to find justice. Not just for him, but for everyone who’s hurting like I am,” Pamela said.
If Dawna could say anything to her brother, it would be this:
“You don’t know how much you are missed and how much you are loved, and I was backing you 100 percent, baby. Sissy loves you.”
The family said they wish Dustin knew he didn’t have to suffer in silence. They hope everyone who has any sort of depression or addiction issue will ask for help.
For resources and more information about the opioid epidemic in the Valley, visit the Heroin Crisis section on WKBN.com.