The opioid epidemic is taking its toll on people across the nation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control In 2015, more than 15,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids. An Augusta woman knows too well the damage this drug can do. Jennifer Lariscey, now a single mother of four, lost her husband to an opioid overdose almost two years ago. She says he suffered from a back injury that led to prescription drugs.

“The doctors kept giving him these pain pills and I never realized there was a problem until I got the phone call that he had passed away,” Lariscey said.

Her husband Duane Lariscey was a hardworking and loving father that loved to play around with his three sons and daughter. She says over a ten year period she noticed that he begin taking more pills.

“Everyday we would go outside and play with the kids, that was just an everyday thing, and then more and more he was staying in the bed and then closer to the end it was like he was totally detached from us,” Lariscey told NewsChannel 6.

Duke Vinson, Executive Director at Bluff Plantation, a drug addiction treatment center in Augusta, says the opioids alter your behavior patterns and that there’s no evidence proving that they are safe and effective.

“As a matter of fact it has proven to create more problems for the every day individual when they get on these meds without the proper education,” Vinson said.

He says often people become dependent on opioids and it ends up causing long-term damage. He wants everyone to know that there are treatment options available that don’t include taking medication.

“There’s yoga, meditation and there’s non steroidal anti inflammatory medication. There’s also different types of talk therapy and you should look those up because those will help you and your loved one when you’re trying to not get addicted to pain meds,” Vinson added.

View article on wjbf.com here.