Sam Werkmeister, a father of two, nearly died six times last year.
He started taking pain pills to get through shifts at a restaurant. That led him to a full-blown addiction to opioids. After a relapse last summer, it took Werkmeister six months to gather the courage to go back into treatment.
“It’s called carfentanil, and it’s really cheap,” he said, as he sat on a worn couch in the Granite City group home he shares with a half dozen other men. “It destroyed my life.”