I Am the Face of Addiction

Watch this powerful video, “I Am the Face of Addiction”. This horrible epidemic is taking to many lives from us. We need to understand that people who are addicted need love, their families need love.

There was a story on WPXI this weekend that really upset me, “Some first responders argue Narcan gives opiate users false sense of security“. I feel that this story casts a negative spin on a horrible epidemic that is sweeping our nation and our local communities.

I support first responders completely, the situations that they have to deal with are unimaginable and they save lives. I just feel that this story should have received comments from people with an understanding of addiction.

Narcan will NOT be a safety net for people. People that are in this level of addiction are NOT just out there getting high. They are people who are trying to get a normal feeling that addiction takes away.

When a person is administered Narcan, they are immediately put into a detox mode or “dope sick“,  which prevents many people from ever getting clean.

Narcan is NOT a cure to addiction, Narcan is a way to save lives from an overdose. This should be one step in addressing the overdose epidemic, recovery must follow and sadly the person must be ready for recovery.

I am NOT an addiction specialist. I would have preferred to see this story include an addiction specialist, someone who could clarify the information in this story. First responders are there to deal with horrific incidents and save our loved ones lives, they are not expected to be addiction specialists.

I wish Narcan could have been available when I lost Amber, but it was not. Would it have caused her to lead a life of recovery? No one will ever know that… But, if it saves one person it is worth it to me.

WPXI has been doing a wonderful job reporting on Narcan and I thank them for that. I just feel this story left a lot of loose ends and could have a negative impact, which sadly means it could cost lives.

Opinions express are my own.
Image credit: http://www.myemssupply.com/Iron-Duck-36010-narcan-naloxone-kit-bag-pouch-p/36010-sy.htm

Facing Addiction – Enough is Enough!

This fact is staggering!

Every 4 minute someone dies from addiction.

Every 13 minutes someone’s child dies from an overdose.

This horrible epidemic is a health crisis that is getting attention today of the leaders of our country. The Surgeon General today announce a Surgeon General’s report on addiction and leaders made it know that they will work with us to change the country.

Four months ago today we lost a beautiful young lady. She was struggling to get clean and fight this horrible demon called addiction. She slipped and it was her last time. The calls begin early in the morning on June 4th 2015. I collasped at work from shock. Reaching deep inside for the strength to do what had to done I got up and went to my sister (Amber’s mom). My sister cried and called for help. My wife was in a meeting at school for my daughter when I interupted her meeting. Our girls were pulled from class crying, Amber was more of a sister than a cousin. Amber’s grandparents cried and struggled to believe this horrible new reality.

Addiction is very real. This year, 2015, has had so much deaths from addiction that it is now a horrible health crisis. Every 13 minute’s someone loses a child to an overdose. Every 4 mintues someone dies from addiction.

Addiction is a family disease, it does not just affect the person who is addiction. It affects everyone that person knows and cares about. It is a HELL that I couldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

I have heard several comments about addicts that are very cruel. Addiction is a disease, that is a fact. It is listed by the medical professional as a disease so that is NOT debatable. Heroin, is a nasty drug that people can’t understand why someone would use. I agree completely with that. I do know that people do NOT just walk up in the morning and say “Hey let’s try heroin”. After you get hooked on pain pills and other drugs you need to find a cheaper way to get that feeling, at this point you are hooked already. Then you try it and the eurphia is described as amazing. But, that one time high is not something that you can get so easy after and every again. Heroin is used then to just feel normal, to stop from being sick. Dope sick is described as feeling like you are dying. They try to reach out for help but are looked down upon, what other disease has a stigma like addiction. How can people get help when they are looked at like the scum of the eart. Called names like junkies.

I have alrady been FED UP! I am FED UP with addiction, overdose and how addicts are treated! I am FED UP that we don’t legislation to help addicts.

Watch Unit To Facing Addiction LIVE right now

http://ustre.am/1rDsK

 

 

Fight For What You Believe In

It is approaching three months since Amber passed and each day is hard. I think of her all the time and wish I could still have our talks. She was a wonderful young lady and had so much love.

I believe that she would have wanted me to help others dealing with what she dealt with. My kids will see that if you believe in something that you have to stand your ground and fight for it. Let them hear the shaking in your voice, it’s not easy to stand up for what you believe in. It means pushing your comfort zone and some people may not like what you are doing.

I am pushing my comfort zone, I talk to Amber a lot in my prayers. She brought a piece of happiness to the world. I learned what unconditional love is with her birth.

I discovered International Overdose Awareness Day, which falls on August 31st and wanted to do something to raise awareness. With the help of some very talented and generous people we have scheduled a rally on August 28th from 6:00pm to 9:30. I am very excited about this event, it is part of the bigger Fed Up! rally which is in Washington, DC.

We need to end the stigma associated with addiction and overdose, addiction is an illness. Some people choose the first time to experiment but this does mean they deserve to be outcast. We need to show compassion and love for people struggling with addiction.

Please attend the rally at Stewart Avenue Lutheran Church in Carrick this Friday, August 28th at 6PM. We need to stand together and make everyone aware that addiction affects everyone.

Please visit BWAction.com/Fedup for more information.

Podcamp X – My First Time

I attended my first PodCamp this year, on Sunday the last day I decided to head to Point Park University. I have wanted to attend this conference for about 2 years and this year I finally did it and I just loved it!

“PodCamp Pittsburgh is a social media un-conference.”

This “un-conference” provides a place to learn about social media and new media from people who use it. It is offered free of charge thanks to sponsors and volunteers. I attended 2 sessions and I really enjoyed both of them. The people at the event are very friendly which makes it that much more fun.

So, below I am going to provide my thoughts on the two sessions that I attended.

 

Instacontent:Meerkat, Snapchat, Periscope, Oh My

First, I went to “Instacontent” which provided a great overview of some apps like:

  • Meerkat
  • Periscope
  • Snapchat

I have heard of all three and played with them a little in the past. But during this session I that both Meerkat and Periscope have some good audiences and provide a way of quickly getting content out to your users. Instead of planning a production that you might host on a different platform, you can quickly and easily use your device to broadcast a video stream to your users. This is great for getting information to your audience quickly for a specific moment that is happening.

Snapchat has a feature called “My Stories” that allows you to build a a story of shorts vidoes from SnapChat that can then be available for 24 hours or you can download it to host it elsewhere.

I loved how this session was presented, it wasn’t just a slide deck but the presentors used the tools they discussed the various uses and benefits of them.

Presented by : @Sorgatron and @Kdudders

SOCIAL MEDIA & SOCIAL IMPACT

This session was one of the reasons I went to PodCamp today. I created the website BWaction.com to help keep people in the Baldwin-Whitehall area informed about what is going on at the school district level. The site has been very useful and has a wonderful audience that stays active in this community. I am very grateful to all of the readers of BWAction.

More recently, I have been really trying to bring awareness and help end the stigma with drug addiction and overdose. I have been thinking of ways of doing this and have already registered for events revolving around addiction to both learn more and talk to others.

During this talk, Becca shared her passion which is a non-profit that she founded called Harmony of the Andes. She talked about about how social impact can be made by sharing what you care about and why. She described this social impact as part of building your personal brand.

 

Your personal brand impacts your online and offline communities. – Becca

Becca explained that you need to share what you believe in and why. Hearing what a person believes in and why they do makes people want to learn more and brings more awareness.

I really think that social media can help spread a person’s message out to a bigger audience faster than ever before. Yea, I know you knew that already. But, do you make sure that you keep that message that you are sharing both online and offline? Actions are better than words. Make sure to put a person behind that social media brand.

Presented by: @PittBecca

 

2015 Community Day Fun

We had a lot of fun at Community Day this past weekend. All of use looked forward to trying the mobile zip line and it was a BLAST!

I enjoy these events, walking around and talking to our neighbors and having fun activities for the kids to participate in. We watch the shows that are planned and leave happy (and with full bellies).

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My daughter Gianna wore the GoPro  this weekend, enjoy the point of view as she climbs the rock mount and then holds on tight on the zip line.

 

 

An Activist

I never would have imagined someone referring to me as an activist. But, it happened. In the Post Gazette article below.

A parent activist who has served as a watchdog during the past year has tossed his hat into the ring for a seat on the Baldwin-Whitehall school board.Read more http://earlyreturns.post-gazette.com/home/early-returns-posts/6467-baldwin-whitehall-activist-to-seek-seat-on-board

The campaign is over and I won the primary, so my name will be on the ballot in the general election for school board. This has been a very unique experience for me, I have learned a lot over the past few months. I started this because I felt something was wrong. My motivation has stayed strong as I have observed what was going on and from my dicussions with others in the community. I joined with a team of respected and like minded people for form our ticket of Lets Rebuild BW. Each one of us will now be on the ballot in the general election.

I am so honored that the community contributed to the campaign making this campaign a public movement, in my opinion. That just touched me more than I can express. To think that so many people reached into their pockets to help make this campaign a reality is just surreal.

The cake my dad had for me after the primary election.

Now, I have to wait for the general election. As I wait I will continue to attend and monitor the meetings.

Year In Review

 Year In Review

This year saw changes in my work life, I was contacted by a previous employer to come back as a principal engineer. The company and boss made this decision very easy, now that I am at a large international company some of my daily responsibilities have changed. But, all in all I am doing the same thing that I have been doing for that past 15+ years.

I have been very involved with the social media communities and especially Pittsburgh based communities. I have been honored to be a Carnegie Science Center Insider and I have been writing posts on PghDad.me about the Science Center with special insider access.

I have been working with WordPress this year a lot and diving more into blogging which help me create this site and also 2 additional sites now. I have more regularly blogged at PghDad.me, which is a site that I use for parenting/family and Pittsburgh. I blog about many different ideas and thoughts with PghDad.me but everything revolves around family and/or Pittsburgh.

The purpose of this site, Rainaldi.org, which I plan to become more active with this year is my technical site. Which is extension of what I do professionally, as a principal engineer and a tech geek I use all kinds of technologies both personally and professional. This site is a place to write and share my feelings about what I am doing and learning.

This year also saw the re-launch of our church’s web site at Stewart Avenue Lutheran, I have bee more involved with the church this year not only with the site but also with social media and Sunday School. By the grace of God I am here and blessed to have a wonderful family and life and I am honored to belong to such a wonderful church family as well.

 

A new site that will officially be launched January 1st 2013 is TalkWithDaddy.com, this is a project that my children and I are diving in to. Talk With Daddy is a web show that will revolve around talks and experiences with my children.

 

I wish each and everyone of you a happy and safe new year and look forward to a bright 2013.

 

Pittsburgh Blogger Facebook Group

Emily over at emilylevenson.com created a new Facebook group for Pittsburgh Bloggers, I joined the group right away. Those who do not know her, she also create Project: Food Budget which I have participate in for helping to manage my family's food spending. I love the idea of a group for people who blog around Pittsburgh to communicate and get to know each other better. I am a new one to the blogging arena, I am not new to the web or Internet though. I have been created web applications since the late 90s, I travel a lot to develop sites during the boom.

I left Pittsburgh and hurried back around 2000 and met my beautiful wife and started a family. I am a “tech addict” and stay on Twitter and Facebook all the time. I am truly “connected' with my Fitbit which is a very advance pedometer that monitor not only my steps but the floors and activity level that I walk.

As of this writing the Facebook group is getting a lot of activity and I will be checking out each of the blogs posted there. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, I love our city and am so happy to be part of a great community of bloggers.

Once again, Pittsburgh bloggers join the Pittsburgh Bloggers Facebook group and build our community.

 

 

Whitehall Community Day 2011 “Hoe Down”

We all had a great time at Whitehall’s Community Day, so glad we made it there. We arrived late, but had time to ride some rides. One of my daughters rode the mechanical bull and loved it! Of course there was face painting and lots of great food.

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Live country music was playing while we talked with neighbors and friends.

Whitehall always organizes nice events and I am glad to be able to participate in them.

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School’s open everyone, please drive safe.