New interactive map puts a face on opioid epidemic - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

New interactive map puts a face on opioid epidemic

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AKRON, Ohio -

As 21 News continues to look for solutions to the opioid epidemic, we've learned the National Safety Council has adopted an "interactive map" that's putting a face on the broad impact of the opioid/heroin crisis.

21 News sat down with Jen Krieger of Akron, a mother, who chose to use the interactive map to show that her daughter wasn't just a statistic but one of the faces of this tragic epidemic.

"Tiffany wasn't a number.  Her name was Tiffany Leigh Robertson and she died of a heroin overdose," Krieger said.

At just 26-years-old Tiffany Leigh Robertson died in Niles back in 2015 from an overdose after being injected by so-called friends with heroin laced with Fentanyl.

Her mother mourns the loss of a daughter she says could sing like an Angel, even making it to the semi-finals of American Idol in Cleveland just after turning 16.  

Tiffany was also a mother who left two young children behind 

"She was my best friend.  I've never done an illegal drug in my life. But heroin took everything from me," Krieger said.

Tiffany's story is just one of those featured as part of that interactive map named "Celebrating Lost Loved Ones." The map is putting
real faces on a nationwide crisis, killing hundreds every day and an epidemic that results in at least 14 people dying a day in Ohio.

Krieger said no one should be embarrassed about what's happened. "I would encourage any parent to step up and say this is what happened to my child.  If we don't come out and make it something we're discussing and we don't put faces to it, it doesn't become real," Krieger said,

The online platform can be found by logging onto The National Safety Council's website.  Just click on the link "Lost to Opioids," and then at the top right-hand corner of the next page click "Add Lost Loved One."  You can then upload a photo and write their story, or a message about how much they're missed.

The purpose of the map is to show the broad impact of how opioid's and heroin have destroyed lives and families.

Krieger says, "They're not throw away people.  Their lives mattered."

And it's tragic stories like Tiffany's that may just save someone else's life.

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