Family, officer try to help Copeland in his struggle with addiction

Fifteen months after The News-Messenger published an in-depth series, “Heroin: The Face of Addiction in Sandusky County,” reporter Daniel Carson and photographer/videographer Molly Corfman revisit the topic in a three-part series updating the epidemic that maintains its insidious, unrelenting grip on the county.

Third in a series

FREMONT – At one point, his mind and body consumed by heroin use, Martel Copeland argued with his mother about whether there was a God.

“He told me, ‘If there is a God, why am I like this?,’” Nancy Copeland remembered.

Even when his drug addiction seemed to seize hold of him for good, Martel desperately wanted to get help.

And it looked like he might get it.


Nancy Copeland and Shane Durbin remember their son, Martel Copeland, 22, of Fremont who died from a drug overdose on Aug. 27, 2016.
Molly Corfman/The News-Messenger

His family tried to get him into a Florida rehab center, then took him to Toledo.

A treatment center had a bed available, but Martel didn’t have a medical insurance card and was turned away.

Nancy said she used to keep an eye on the police scanner.

“I would keep it on all the time just waiting,” she said. “I knew it was going to be my son. We talked about it. We both knew he wasn’t going to live long.”

Six months after being turned away from the rehab center, on Aug. 27, 2016, Copeland died of a heroin overdose. He was 22.

Nancy’s struggle with overwhelming grief is one shared with 22 other families throughout the county.

There were 23 drug overdose deaths in Sandusky County last year, more than doubling the number in 2015.

Amid all the warnings, formation of recovery groups, and resources marshaled to reduce overdoses and overdose deaths, the county’s heroin epidemic has not peaked.

In Fremont, police officials reported 44 drug overdoses in 2016, with 21 specifically heroin-related. Through…

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