Overdose Lifeline — “In memory of Savannah”

Jill Gosche, The Advertiser-Tribune, March 7 2019

Addiction is not picky about race, gender, income or age, a Tiffin woman says.

Toni Burns said her 31-year-old daughter, Savannah Reiter, died of acute combination drug intoxication and had carfentanyl, fentanyl, cocaine and heroin in her body.

“She had so much potential,” she said.

Several black balloons in memory of Reiter were displayed in Burns’ front yard Wednesday. According to Overdose Lifeline Inc.’s website, Black Balloon Day is an international event that brings awareness to overdose deaths.

Burns said Reiter was on Columbian High School’s homecoming court, was in gifted classes at Noble Elementary School, was in plays at The Ritz Theatre, loved reading and to sing, and played drums and bass guitar. All children and animals loved her, she said.

“She had the most beautiful red hair,” Burns said.

Burns said he daughter was smart and popular, was a class clown and always was doing something to make people laugh.

“Nobody doesn’t love Savannah. She was funny,” she said.

Reiter had moved to Cleveland and broke her foot in two places.

“She didn’t have the money for the surgery that she needed. … The doctor had her on 180 Percocets a month for over a year,” Burns said.

Burns recalled her daughter telling her not to worry, that she was taking the medication exactly the way the doctor had prescribed. Reiter told her that she didn’t have to worry about her getting addicted to them.

“She trusted her doctor,” Burns said.

All of the sudden, Burns said, doctors took Reiter off of the medication.

Burns said Reiter declined offers to try heroin, but she wanted to die from the pain and couldn’t take it anymore. She agreed to try heroin.

Burns recalled her daughter telling her that after about three weeks, she woke up one day “dope sick,” meaning she was praising the drug and had to have it. Burns said her daughter was addicted at that point.

After doing well in recovery, Reiter relapsed and was found dead.

Burns said she is a firm believer that people do have a life after earth.

“I will see Savannah again,” she said.

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