Tonight my heart aches as I think of how many people I have lost during my 20s. Tuesday night I received a phone call informing me yet another one of my classmates, that I had known since middle school, had passed on. I had not seen her in a couple years, but we were relatively close in my late teens and early 20s. She ran in the same crowd I did, and continued to through the years. It was another drug overdose. My hometown county has suffered an incredible amount of loss in the last few years due to opiate overdoses. I have now come to realize that very few of the people that I hung out with prior to my sobriety (I will celebrate 5 wonderful years March 14th) are alive, and if they are, they are using opiates. Opiates were becoming increasingly popular towards the end of my drug years, but I was never one for a downer. I was more like, “life of the party” type, who enjoyed dancing and uppers. But, this realization has taken a drastic effect on me. I feel guilty for escaping this circumstance, for making it out. I feel guilty, for every success that I have acquired since then. I know this is not necessary, and I should not feel this way, but none the less, I do. It does, however, ignite the fire within to a blazing glory, where it has yet only been a campfire. I will help those who are still sick and suffering from the disease of addiction. They will get to experience the second chance that I was granted in this life. I am blessed beyond words for the ability to have a second shot. I am SO THANKFUL that I made it OUT. But, how can I help those I left behind? I will continue on my path upward, I will continue advocating for the voices that go unheard in that county and my current one. I would love to find an incredible, preventative method to stop this epidemic from continuing. I KNOW due to hours-upon-hours of research on the opiate epidemic, several papers, and several presentations that my county does not stand alone with this issue. WHY ARE WE NOT TALKING ABOUT IT. WHY DO WE CONTINUE TO TRUST THE ANSWER IS OPIATES FOR PAIN MANAGEMENT. WHY are we not paying attention to the pharmaceutical company pockets that are getting lined by the deaths of our loved ones. WHY has this not been declared a state of emergency by the CDC?! I intend on making this a household conversation, enough is enough. Something has to be done. So, what can you do? Write your legislature, talk to your schools, talk to local social workers, seek out addiction specialists and non-profits. Join together, talk about it, the dangers of it. EDUCATE the masses on the addictive properties of controlled substances. Get a second opinion, when seeing a doctor. This epidemic is not something that effects “low-lives” as people tend to stigmatize, but the actual highest percentage of users are middle-class white males. (I would be happy to provide academic journals demonstrating this upon request) They start out on prescription opiates than they become addicted, they move to non-prescription opiates (they lost their prescription) and graduate to heroin due to the expensive cost of the pill form. Doctors are literally prescribing pills that are stronger than heroin, does no one see what’s wrong with that picture?
*For more information about current drug use in America visit: