In May, Marguerite Ward, 31, marked the second anniversary of the loss of her brother Matthew to an accidental overdose of fentanyl.
Matthew was only 21 when he died, and his family believes his addiction developed after he was prescribed opioids after a tooth extraction as a teenager.
“The fentanyl and opioid crisis in this country is taking away the young people of many communities — young people who will be the future community leaders, spiritual leaders, artists, business leaders,” Ward told the Post on Wednesday.
Years before his death, Matthew “began working on recovery,” his sister said. He attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings, he turned to religion, he went to an outpatient rehabilitation center at a hospital, and he had the full support of his family.
But on May 31, 2019, Matthew’s father and another of his sisters found him dead at their Westchester home.
“He made a mistake. It was a mistake, and it’s a biological force that many addicts experience,” Ward said. “He’s working hard, and fentanyl has taken away the bright soul of our family and the world of the amazing things he has contributed.”
The day before his death, Ward said she had been FaceTimed with her brother. He was a musician, studied music in college and showed Margaret his songs.
Seeing the overdose figures released on Wednesday, Ward returned to the heavy emotions of her brother’s death.
“These numbers are distressing, nauseating and heartbreaking – because many of these deaths are preventable,” she said.