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A family's tragedy is helping save the lives of those struggling with addiction

St. Louis saw a record number of overdoses in 2017. And the family says this year's numbers could spike in the coming weeks.

St. Louis — ST. LOUIS — Seven-hundred-and-sixty. That's how many people lost their lives in the St. Louis area because of opioid drug overdoses in 2017. That's an all-time high.

And a local family who knows the pain of that loss all too well says the numbers are likely to spike again in the coming weeks.

Art Deno's phone rarely stops ringing.

“I start getting calls at 4:30 in the morning and it usually doesn’t stop until after midnight.”

But he doesn't mind.

“These are people calling to know, 'How can we get help?'”

Art and his wife, Beth, started the nonprofit ACPD. They named it after their son Austin, who died of an opioid overdose in 2016. Their mission is to get people into treatment. And it's been working.

“I think it's right around 312 people in the last two-and-a-half years,” said Deno.

A year ago, in the grips of addiction and with no place to go, Steven Reisch feared he might not make it to his next birthday.

“My mom wouldn't even let me in the house. She'd call the cops if I showed up,” he said.

His son was taken into protective custody.

“That was real bad for me. It definitely made me want to change.”

So, ACPD sent him off to an 8-month treatment program, and today Reisch is on the path to recovery.

“Honestly, I feel like it saved my life.”

Deno says the time is now to create more success stories like Reisch's, because the cold winter months often mean more overdoses.

“As the weather starts changing they have nowhere to go. And the resources aren't here locally to help them, the shelters, the centers,” said Deno.

And he says ACPD's message is and always will be the same.

“We're there to help you and we will get you the help you need.”

Anyone struggling with addiction can call ACPD at 314-578-3640.

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