The heroin epidemic affects EVERYONE. You may not be personally affected right now but you probably know someone who is or has been indirectly.
Look at the graph below, the number of fatal overdoses has risen by huge amounts over the past few years.
Image from http://www.overdosefreepa.pitt.edu/
I am personally affected by this epidemic and it is devastating every single day. Losing someone you love to an overdose leaves you with so much heartbreak.
What else could I have done to prevent it?
I have to live with this question for the rest of my life, among others. Seeing a life taken way too soon, questioning if you did enough. How could you have saved a life?
I was happy to see that one county in Pennsylvania is now going to classify heroin overdose as homicide and dealers as murders.
“If you chose to sell heroin, you’re killing people and you’re murdering people. You’re just as dead from a shot of heroin as if someone puts a bullet in you,” Kiessling told The Daily Item of Sunbury.
“Calling these accidents is sweeping it under the rug,” he said.
School are now stocking Naloxone in schools to help save lives. We still need to do more. People suffering from addiction need to be treated as someone with a disease. They need help. Their families need help.
This is a HEALTH CRISIS!
There is an Overdose Epidemic
One person dies every 19 minutes from unintentional drug overdose (Paulozzi, 2012).
Pennsylvania is among the ten states with the highest opioid use and overdose rates (Paulozzi, 2012).
For the years 1999—2007, drug-induced deaths were second only to motor vehicle fatalities (CDC, 2010).
Opioid overdose is preventable and treatable (reversible) through the use of naloxone (UNODC, 2013).
Well, I feel that stocking Naloxone or Narcan in schools is a great idea. We need to save lives. We also need to increase education, prevention and recovery. We need to be aware and not just act like it won’t happen. There are ways to save a life and we need to have these resources available to help.
Children are using at younger ages than ever before. We need to make sure they understand the dangers of trying drugs just once. We need to also give them the tools to deal with drugs WHENthey are confronted with them. Let’s face it, be real, they WILL be confronted, thinking they won’t is just being naive. How will your child handle that situation?
Their first experience with drugs may be from a legal prescription of a strong narcotic. YES. That is true. Children are being prescribed very strong narcotics at very young ages. Pain management can lead to addiction and has in many people of all ages. Depression and anxiety can lead to addiction. Children are prescribed drugs to deal with these very real medical issues but this can also lead to addiction and overdose.
Addiction does NOT discriminate. It doesn’t what matter your race, age, gender or financial status is in society. Addiction and fatal overdose affects EVERYONE!
So, I am not tell you anything new. This information is available everywhere.
But, I am asking you to do something.
Talk to your children and family about addiction, don’t just telling them to not use drugs. Tell them how to handle situations WHEN they are confronted, yes WHEN. Explain to them how to handle legally prescribed drugs and monitor their usage. Question if you or anyone you care for actually needs strong drugs. Ask the doctors if there are other ways to deal with medical situations. LOCK UP your narcotics! If you have narcotics in your house, secure them. Many people have legal narcotics in their house that are prescribed and used correctly. LOCK THEM UP. Children are taking them from parents and using or selling them.
Show LOVE. People that are fighting addiction need help. Don’t enable them, but love them. They are fighting a very real battle every day to not use. CELEBRATE people who are recovering. Long term recovery is possible, I know many people with long term recovering. Long term recovery is possible. I know many people in long term recovery and they fight every day to not use again. They are very strong people who want to be clean and want to contribute to society and they want to show love and help others.
I hope that you will never have to deal with the pain I have to deal with everyday. I know many people who have to deal with this same pain every day. Some have not lost their loved ones, some have. Some have to deal with the NIGHTMARE of addiction every day. They are frightened every time the phone rings, waiting for that call.
There are many organizations that can help you. Here are a few:
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.
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.
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh and have the accent to prove it! I left Pittsburgh back in ’99 and rushed back home to be where my heart belongs. People all over are trying to live more healthy, even here in the Burgh where we have fries ON our sandwiches!
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I came across the community called Fittburgh and just loved the idea. I have been trying to live a more healthy lifestyle for a few years now. My age as caught up with me and my metabolism no longer will let me eat anything I want and still be thin. I have started work on it, but haven’t been succeeding lately.
I started practicing yoga in December and have been wearing a Fitbit for several years. I always joke that is shows how lazy I am. Well, now with the help of Fittsburgh and my yoga practice at Urban Prana Yoga I am going to succeed at changing my lifestyle. Join me on my journey through life here, not only about my weight loss and fitness challenges and successes.
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