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Family of overdose victim makes life-saving donation

Family of overdose victim makes life-saving donation to Addiction Treatment Services

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- A Grand Traverse County family is trying to impact people's lives by donating to Addiction Treatment Services.

The Hertler family recently gave $10,000 to the organization, which will allow them to create about 300 overdose prevention kits with the reversal drug known as Narcan.

In September, 29-year-old Michael Hertler died from a heroin overdose, which the family decided is important to be honest about to get rid of the stigma and ultimately save lives.

“He was terrific runner, snowboarder, skater, soccer player.”

Michael Hertler grew up in Traverse City, graduating from TC Central, he had friends, family and a good job.

“In the last couple of months he just seemed fine and the week before he told me he was happier than he had been a long time,” said Michael’s mother, Lynne Hertler.

In September, a heroin overdose claimed Michael’s life.

While it wasn't easy, the Hertler family knew it was important to talk about.

“’Okay, this happened, what can we do to help stop it in the community?’,” said Hertler. “I don't think people realize how severe it is right here in Traverse City.”

They wrote about Michael's addiction in his obituary, and in lieu of flowers, asked for donations in his honor to Addiction Treatment Services.

“Ever since we've been working with them to create opportunities to impact the community through those donations,” said Addiction Treatment Services CEO, Christopher Hindbaugh.

Nearly $12,000 was collected, but the Hertler’s weren't done giving to ATS.

Weeks after Michael died, Lynne's mother passed away, who left $10,000 for Michael in her will.

“So we just said, you know what this is going to addiction treatment services maybe they can save somebody else,” said Hertler.

That money is being used to make about 300 kits with the reversal drug Narcan, to give to those in need, which may have already saved a life.

“This weekend I met a mother who requested a kit because she used the one she already had on her own son a couple weeks ago and she was seeking out a place to get more and cost prohibitive but then we had some so she sought us out,” said Hindbaugh.

Lynne says she's been overwhelmed by the community's support, but more still needs to be done.

“Everybody is valued, everybody's loved, everybody deserves another chance,” said Hertler.

ATS says a big part of these kits is also education. While they can revive people from an overdose, it's still very important to call 911 to get additional medical treatment.

Good Samaritan laws in Michigan also protect people from charges relative to possession if they're seeking emergency help for themselves or somebody else.

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