By Amanda Marquart and Suzi Mitchell

A car races up to the emergency room entrance at the Yampa Valley Medical Center. The door is opened and the lifeless body of a youth overdosing on heroin is thrown out. The drivers leave him for dead; they don’t want to be seen.

“That should be a wake-up call to anyone who thinks we don’t have a drug problem in this community,” says David Wilkinson, M.D., medical director for emergency services. “To witness that happening in Steamboat is shocking.”

Wilkinson is talking about the national prescription opioid and heroin epidemic that is leaving virtually no community – big city or small town – unscathed. Nineteen people in Routt County died from drug and alcohol overdoses in 2016.

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