Mothers of overdose victims meet on Tybee Island

Mothers of overdose victims meet on Tybee Island

TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - Tybee time—a little slice of heaven—for eight women who have been through what can only be described as hell.

"We arrived and within minutes it was like we are with old friends. You could talk about anything.  Everybody understood," said Carolyn Terry Dorsett.

It's the first time most of them have met in person after finding each other about ten years ago on an online message board called GriefNet.  All were searching for someone who could understand the loss they were trying to deal with.

"He was my youngest son and a very kind, happy loving person," said Dorsett.

"He was my second born but he was always my sensitive child," said Debbie Shaller.

"Victor was an amazing kid. He was a football player. He was an MVP," said Teresa Fullmer.

But all of these young people also fell victim to the disease of addiction, and the disastrous consequences it often leads to.

"When I got the call that he was dead that he had overdosed, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I found out that heroin was a part of it," said Linda Reemus.

In the 10 years since they lost their children, the number of overdose deaths in the United States has continued to skyrocket.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 47,000 people died of an overdose in 2014—opioids were involved the majority of those deaths.

There are no easy answers to the problem.

"I think drug addiction is not a criminal act. It is the criminalization of the addiction that is wrong. Our kids make a mistake, but if you tell them that if you make a mistake you are a bad person and put them in jail—I don't think that is the right way," said Fullmer.

Ironically, all of these women say they have quit going on the website that first brought them together. It's just too depressing.

"I think all of us stopped GriefNet at a certain point because there were new moms constantly and we couldn't take more moms losing their kids," said Lesli Messenger.

But for now, these women say they will continue to find strength and understanding through each other, sharing a bond that came out of some of the worst pain imaginable.

"I don't know how I could have done it without them. I really don't," said Shaller.

It's a crisis that is devastating families across the United States.

On Thursday, the Attorney General's Office will hold a roundtable discussion in Savannah to bring awareness to the problem of drug abuse, particularly prescription opioids and heroin.

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