The families of three men who died from drug overdoses in New Rochelle, New York, gathered on Sunday evening to hold a vigil for their loved ones. A fourth man is still fighting for his life in the hospital.
The victims were identified as John Doe, Jane Doe, and James Doe. Their families described them as loving and kind individuals who struggled with addiction.
"We're here to remember our loved ones and bring awareness to the opioid epidemic that has taken too many lives," said Mary Smith, the mother of John Doe. "We need to do more to help those struggling with addiction."
The vigil was held at Lincoln Park where family members shared stories about their loved ones and lit candles in their memory.
"We don't want anyone else's family to go through what we're going through," said Tom Jones, brother of James Doe. "We need better resources for addiction treatment and education."
According to police reports, all four men consumed a lethal dose of fentanyl-laced heroin on Saturday night. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is much stronger than heroin and can easily lead to overdose if not taken under medical supervision.
Drug overdoses have become a major public health crisis in the United States over the past few years. In 2019 alone, there were over 70,000 drug overdose deaths reported across the country.
Local officials are urging residents who struggle with addiction or know someone who does to seek out available resources such as rehabilitation centers or hotlines for support.
"Our hearts go out to these families during this difficult time," said Mayor Joe Smith in a statement released after the vigil. "We must continue working together as a community to combat this deadly epidemic."