One-on-one with a Parent Who Has Experienced the Opioid Epidemic Firsthand

Urban Moms, April 3, 2018

MSTH Tyla Savard shares her family's story.

It was 2012 when Tyla Savard realized her daughter, Carrissa, had a serious substance use disorder. Carrissa was struggling with fentanyl – something Savard didn’t even know how to spell, to try to find information on the Internet. “It didn’t matter” she said. “There was no information.”

Carrissa had been introduced to the drug by a boyfriend who had brought her into a group of approximately 12—all who were using fentanyl. And within a couple of years, Carrissa was using 20 to 40 times a day at $80 a pop, living on the streets, and escorting to make money.

Of the nine girls in the group that Carrissa was hanging out with, only two are still alive. Two were murdered. The others overdosed and died. “Carrissa always used a pill form and crushed and snorted it. We’d find pieces of straw and empty baggies lying around.” Savard says she thought the powdery residue was “maybe crumbs or dust.”

One-on-one with a Parent Who Has Experienced the Opioid Epidemic Firsthand