With the growing substance abuse epidemic, it’s important to talk about drugs from a real-world perspective. The facts and figures are persuasive, but the following stories – coming from real experiences – can help us better connect with the seriousness of drug abuse.
Cassey was a heroin addict and died just a few days after she was rushed to the hospital. Her obituary went viral and has inspired others to step forward and share their own painful family ordeals caused by drugs.
A father painfully informs his son about his mother’s death caused by heroin use. It was difficult enough to accept the passing of a loved one, but to break a little boy’s heart is a new challenge altogether. The video encourages addicts with children to seek help before it’s too late. The pain an addict may leave with their children can permanently affect their lives.
It started with a prescription drug her son needed after succumbing to a back injury. But after months of using Oxycontin, Harris developed a new addiction, and shifted his focus to heroin. Harris’ parents discovered journals written while their son was in rehab. They were shocked to learn he started using drugs when he was 12 years old.
In this story, a mother shares how her son died from a heroin addiction. Though he confessed his desire to quit, he never learned how until drugs finally took his life.
Oziah Gideon found her daughter dead in her bedroom just three days after being released from rehab. Her addiction started with a prescription drug to treat a back injury, which later progressed to the use of illicit substances. Although drugs partly contributed to her daughter’s relief, they also caused her death. Oziah hopes to share her daughter’s story with other families afflicted by addiction.
Kelsey’s death pushed her mother to inform others of her daughter’s long-term battle with heroin addiction. Going in and out of rehab might have been challenging for Kelsey. Her mother continues to remind parents of the importance of being aware of their children’s lives. The hope is for moms, dads, and caregivers to play an active supporting role to help their kids before they resort to drugs as a coping mechanism.
A mother recalls how she started out as a standout high school hockey player, only to become addicted to opioids later on. Her story was shared through national television, earning the attention of U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump’s tweet in response to her experience helped to spread awareness of heroin addiction.
You’d expect to receive many calls on your birthday, but was not a call Christina expected. She was notified of the passing of her mother, on the anniversary of the day she gave Christina life. From a young age, she knew something was odd about her mother’s behavior. It wasn’t until high school when her father finally revealed her mother was a heroin addict. She was admitted to rehab the same night but continued to struggle with her problem for 30 years.
Casey’s parents knew their daughter struggled with a heroin addiction, and they were committed to helping her. Before Casey died, she wanted others to know her story so they could prevent developing their own drug abuse problems.
The truth of a loved one’s addiction can be shared to help enlighten others of the causes of drug abuse. This is a compilation of stories from families struggling with addiction.
The one positive effect of drug addiction is the mobilization of mothers after the death of their children. Parents should never bury their offspring, but the support of other distraught families can be a pillar of acceptance.
Parents should always be on the lookout for any changes in their children’s behavior, especially after stressful or traumatic life events. In Jessica’s case, the divorce of her parents led her to find solace in alcohol and drugs.
The number of deaths caused by drug overdose in Philadelphia reached 953 before the end of 2017. Heroin addiction has been a major contributor to this statistic.
The family of the late Ryan Quinlan revealed Ryan was a very ambitious person with many hopes and dreams. However, he felt so pressured to achieve his goals that he ended up turning to drugs. Ryan’s family demands a better system for treating people with mental disorders and addiction.
After two of her three sons died from a drug overdose, a mother shares her personal affront with addiction. She is described as a loving mom who never left her sons’ side when they needed her. Tragically, her husband died shortly after she lost her children. Her husband did not want a funeral because of the burden placed on the family after the death of his sons. Louie, the remaining son, has become an upstanding citizen despite his family struggle.
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety announced that all law enforcement officers must be equipped with Narcan/Naloxone to counteract emergency opioid overdoses. Their hope is to save more lives throughout Mississippi.
Overdose Awareness Day not only informs people about substance abuse, but also the possibility of overdose. The event helps the public recognize signs of addiction in order to halt progression. People who have been affected by drug addiction gather en masse to spread awareness of this issue.
A narcotics officer never thought his own daughter would confess her battle with drugs. However, he was ready to help immediately. After sending his daughter to a treatment center for rehabilitation, she was denied insurance coverage because her condition was not “serious enough”.
Her addiction worsened and he felt helpless. Informing doctors that his daughter is suicidal was his last-ditch effort to qualify her for treatment. Instead, she was sent to prison. Upon her release, she resumed her addiction and ended her life via overdose.
A husband and wife overdosed on heroin together inside a drugstore bathroom. They boarded a bus, where the husband was sprawled backward on a seat, while his wife was found on her knees by the sidewalk. A video of the couple prompted TIME to produce a documentary about how the couple handles their everyday lives with drugs in the picture.
A shocked wife discovered her late husband’s video diary documenting his struggle with addiction in the last month of his life. Daniel dealt with depression and anxiety as well, but turned to heroin instead of his doctor. Daniel denied being an addict until two weeks prior to his death.
It’s a harrowing experience for a father to witness the death of his son from a heroin addiction. Anthony’s father delivered a message to others who might be struggling with drugs in his son’s eulogy. Through Facebook, his speech reached a girl named Abby who confessed her own struggle to Anthony’s father. After some back and forth communication, Abby finally decided to get clean.
Parents regret the tragic deaths of their children caused by drugs. Government policies need to be improved around drug regulations to implement a safer treatment alternative to prescription drugs.
A mother recalls her son’s struggle with bipolar disorder, which was diagnosed while he was a child. As he grew up, he sought heroin to cope with his mental battle. His imminent addiction led to his fatal overdose. Her son’s death inspired her to help others better understand the scope of mental illness.
A man named Keding admits to his crime of persuading others to use deadly amounts of heroin. Though he expressed remorse, the families of the victims demanded justice. Keding received treatment for his problem and shared his story to help others be more sympathetic to addiction.
“Intense, cheap highs” have encouraged prescription drug users to seek heroin instead. Despite being outstanding men and women, some drug abusers still feel a void in their lives and turn to drugs for fulfillment. Before they can find help, death takes over.
No parent could ever accept the fact that their once happy and loving child would end their life to drugs. Will started using Adderall in school, and later switched to other harder drugs. An anonymous parent learned of Will’s dilemma and tried to help, but he was able to fuel his addiction through illicit online traffickers.
At least 5 deaths per day are caused by drug overdose in Ohio. Christopher Powell’s life was taken by heroin when he was 24 years old. At 16, Christopher felt like an outcast and turned to drugs for a false sense of belonging. His mother is now a strong advocate of drug abuse awareness. Her book aims to show support to fellow parents in similar circumstances.
An 18-year old student from Knoxville met his death two days before his high school graduation. According to his mother, Reagan was smart, driven, and had dreams of becoming a therapist. His addiction started when he was involved in an accident causing a broken wrist. He was prescribed painkillers, which developed into a heroin addiction. Reagan’s drug dealer was found by law enforcers and charged with homicide.
Christmas will never be the same for Tim Sherman as he recalls the untimely death of his daughter. More than a year of being clean after rehab, Tim’s daughter relapsed on a fatal dose of heroin. Although Tim supported his daughter throughout her recovery, he could not win the battle. Placing his daughter in a body bag was described as a horrendous feeling.
Prescription pills are often the gateway to heroin. Will Doerhoff was described by his parents as an outstanding Catholic school student who dreamed of becoming an FBI-appointed lawyer. Life was never the same when Will began his freshman year at the University of Arkansas. Changes in his behavior were apparent, so he was put in rehab. After treatment, Will resumed his normal life and met his future fiancée. One morning, Will did not show up to work; instead, he was found dead from an overdose. The Doerhoffs have teamed up with the DEA to start a foundation in Will’s honor and touch others who struggle with addiction.
The Freeman family in Texas was just beginning to accept the death of their son when, a few months later, another son died from a heroin overdose. The family’s pain is difficult to imagine, but they released their story so others could learn from it. The Freemans hope others will speak out about their own struggles with addiction.
The death of Jack and Laura’s daughter urged the couple to send a letter to Bridgewater parents informing them about their daughter and encouraging others to speak up about their own experiences with drug abuse. Through their efforts, the Luftmans formed a support group of 400 members. Their letter was forwarded to the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District to increase awareness about teenage drug abuse. Jack and Laura hope parents can become more aware of the signs of addiction to help their children before it’s too late.
After Danny was involved in an accident in 2010, he was prescribed prescription narcotics. His drug use morphed into a heroin addiction, but not to the surprise of Danny’s family. They continued to show their love and support until he completed court-ordered drug testing and rehab. Unfortunately, Danny relapsed and was found unconscious inside his bathroom due to a heroin overdose.
During a free public forum hosted by Poughkeepsie Journal Media, over 400 people shared their personal horrors of drug addiction and how it has tainted their lives forever. Because of this forum, Susan and Steve Salomone were inspired to initiate Drug Crisis in Our Backyard, which aims to raise awareness on the addictive nature of heroin. The couple continues to spread awareness of the disease of addiction.
Parents struggle to understand how their children become vulnerable to drugs. In spite of having supportive parents, drugs still find a way to destroy young lives. Parents have a good reason to rejoice in recovery, but heartbreak ensues when children relapse and eventually meet their untimely death.
Three doses of Narcan wasn’t enough to save Cord Tucker from death. Family members were in distraught after seeing him sprawled on the bathroom floor with traces of heroin near his body. Cord underwent counseling to overcome his addiction, but treatment fell short. Results from a drug screen showed that he had taken a lethal dose of fentanyl-laced heroin.
It wasn’t all sunshine for Mary who became addicted to opioids at a young age. Once her family discovered her problem, they expressed full support of her recovery. Needless to say, though, she found her way back to drugs. At Mary’s funeral, the family wanted their daughter to be remembered as a good-hearted child who took on an uphill battle.
A mother speaks about how her family dealt with their son’s heroin addiction and how she would have acted differently to save him. She feels that sharing his story will help others become enlightened and find ways to better helped their loved ones. A single run-in with drugs can permanently rewire your brain. Some drug users may slip little by little each day until they reach their untimely death.
With high heroin overdose rates in Indiana, law enforcers are now equipped with naloxone, a drug used to reverse an overdose at a moment’s notice.
Shannon Stanley lost her daughter to a heroin overdose. During the course of her daughter’s struggle, Shannon was afraid to talk about it. She worried about what other people might think about her family, but Shannon sought the help of a support group after her daughter’s death.
Mary Randol only wanted the best for her son. But his heroin use lead to sepsis which affected his brain, heart, and liver. His body could not fight against the impact of his fatal overdose. Mary promised to use her son’s story as her instrument to teach people what it is like to live with an addict.
Heroin can lead to medical conditions that can cause sudden death. Just two days after being released from rehab, Blementhal’s daughter took heroin along with Schedule I fentanyl, an extremely lethal concoction of drugs. She was found dead due to overdose.
A young mother from Ohio posed with her children next to the open casket of her dead husband who died of a heroin overdose. She never realized a painkiller used to treat a toothache would revert her husband’s addiction.
A mother's’ grief could be used as a tool to let others know the realities of drug addiction. These photos encourage current day drug users to ultimately seek help and eventually be saved, for themselves and their families.
Sports Illustrated interviewed family members of athletes to learn how these young athletes have become hooked on drugs. Some athletes use performance-enhancing drugs to improve their game stats. Long-term use of PEDs resulted in many early deaths. Many athletes also use painkillers after a surgery, only to end up addicted to heroin.
Sherry Bateman recalls her daughter’s unusual behavior, which led to her daughter’s admission of drug abuse. The Bateman’s sought help for their daughter, who entered rehab for three months. One night, after their daughter returned home, she went out with friends on what would be her final moments on earth as a result of a fatal heroin overdose.
Kevin Simmers did everything he could to save his daughter Brooke. When she was sent to jail for heroin possession, shots were given to manage her withdrawal. However, each shot required validation from the insurance company before it could be administered. When she needed her third shot, the insurance company did not respond soon enough, and Brooke later succumbed to her symptoms.
A mom discovered a poem written by her daughter who died of heroin overdose. It described the thoughts of an addict and the perilous journey her daughter embarked on. The pain of not being able to shout for help only strengthened her daughter’s addiction.
It was unlikely for Jessica Gentile to be associated with any type of drug. She vehemently stated that she would never use drugs again, but it was too late for her mother to save her. The signs were there, but her mother doubted that Jessica would ever engage in drug use. Police later found out Jessica’s friend Matthew caused her death with a fatal heroin injection.
A two-year-old girl who accompanied her mother to the store suddenly fell on the floor unconscious. The incident was caused by an opioid overdose.
A mass opioid overdose swept Knox County and resulted in the death of at least 173 people. Mothers of the victims shared stories of their children with the hope of spreading awareness about the dangers of opioid use.
Austin Glass’ mother was diagnosed with Stage 3-4 breast cancer and was prescribed opioids to alleviate the pain. Months of taking these drugs made his mother dependent, causing her addiction and eventual death.
Three people who sought help for their drug-afflicted loved ones failed in their quest because of an inadequate healthcare system. They expressed frustration and disappointment in fighting for treatment for their loved ones without any recognition.
A funeral owner stated how it was very uncommon in the 80s to receive dead bodies linked to overdose. But in the past three years, the body count rose to 3-4 per month. The story behind each was not reflected in their death certificates. He persuades everyone to share their real stories to help them truly recover from the pain of a lost loved one.
Danny was full of life until he started taking Oxycontin. He confessed to his parents and was sent to a 30-day rehab facility, only to relapse a few days after his discharge. Danny’s death was linked to a combination of Oxycontin, heroin, and carfentanil, a drug used to tranquilize animals, and known to be about 100 times more potent than heroin.
Mary Romaire, a doting mom of two, was often described as jolly and funny. She succumbed to a back injury years ago and was prescribed painkillers for pain relief. Eventually, she built a tolerance and sought stronger drugs to combat her symptoms.
Broadcaster Ken Daniels spoke to a large audience of young athletes about the tragic death of his son due to opioid abuse. Emphasizing the legitimate use of prescription drugs was the moral of his lesson.
What could be more painful than being questioned as a parent after two of your kids have died from drugs? Sometimes, doing your best may not be enough to prevent someone from falling into the fiery pit of addiction. Under anonymous aliases, mothers of addicts share their stories online to help themselves recover from their tragic losses.
Alicia Palermo-Reddy is a nurse who voluntarily helps people suffering from opioid addiction. Recovery and relapse are a part of her everyday life, and she wishes to continue extending help no matter the personal sacrifice.
A seemingly normal man decided to try drugs for the first time. Just a few weeks of cocaine use spiraled into a full-fledged cocaine addiction.
Marijuana is described as a gateway drug by many drug abusers. These horrific true stories highlight the ill effects of drug use to help educate people about the lasting repercussions of drug abuse.
The love of a parent is truly unending. Despite knowing her daughter was into drugs, Kim remained at her daughter Dana's side to help her recover. Dana was just 22 years old when she died of a drug overdose.
Overdose Awareness Day calls attention to society’s persistent drug problem. Families who attend advocate for life beyond addiction. This single day of awareness addresses the factors that may lead to an addiction.
Nanaimo parents mourn the loss of their children and share their emotional struggles. These families attempt to shift the "image" of addiction, reminding us that anyone can be a victim.
International Overdose Awareness Day encourages families of overdose victims to join hands in strengthening each other and spreading the realities of addiction. Most attendees are stricken mothers with a desire to reach out to other families in need of support.
Drug overdose rates have risen in New York for many consecutive years. One man from Gloucester County experienced multiple overdoses and emergency room visits. Upon recovery, he finally committed to sobriety.
Drug addiction is not like it was in the 70s. Many drug users are unsuspecting and seen as generally happy. Today, drug users use fentanyl, heroin, morphine and other illicit drugs just to scrape by in life.
Before a large audience, Mona Pebbles displayed a bag of ashes – the remains of her son following his tragic drug overdose. Although Mona's son was admitted to rehab, he reverted back to old habits after being prescribed painkillers for his pancreatitis.
For most grieving families, their only wish is to publically release the weight of their drug abuse experience to save the lives of others.
A mother stands by the belief her son died from an accidental overdose, although some people speculate otherwise. Through Helping Hand Ministries, contributions were made to help her raise her fatherless grandson.
The pain of losing a loved one can never be easy. A support group called Lost Angels Bereavement Group helps bereaved individuals and families to recover from the tragedy brought about by drug addiction. Family members each share their stories, while counselors help them understand why such things had to happen.
It is normal for some family members to blame themselves for the addiction. It is the support group’s intention to help them overcome the tragic memories of drug addiction and to be able to start to live their lives again.
An overdosed mother was photographed still with the syringe sticking out of her arm. What’s more alarming about the whole situation was that she was in the car with her 10-month old baby. When she saw her picture in the news, she was mortified being exposed. She soon realized that if it had not been for the photo exposing her addiction, she wouldn’t have stopped her heroin use.
More and more people know a friend or a family member that has been affected by drug addiction. The increasing number of drug users and the higher death rates have led a community in Camden County to file a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies who continue in making prescription drugs that can lead to addiction.
More often than not, drug users start with pills and later on shift to a much cheaper alternative just to remain “high”. This practice has already cost so many lives, and the only way that the community knows befitting is to let pharmaceutical companies know that they need to stop producing these addictive pills.
Despite providing all the best for their children, some kids still find ways to get access to drugs and use them. Parents continue to provide the love and support even if it means going in and out of treatment centers, just so their child can be helped. Sometimes, though, help may not be soon enough to save a life.
Her daughter struggled to fit in her school when she was younger. She transferred her to another school where her personality was more well-adjusted. However, her boyfriend introduced heroin to her, from which she started using.
Upon learning of this, she told her daughter to either stop using drugs or leave the house. Her daughter chose to leave their home and lived with her boyfriend and continued using heroin. She is hopeful that someday, her daughter may find a way to realize how bad it is hurting her life. By letting other parents know about her daughter’s story, more people may realize the warning signs and have full information on how to best handle such situation.
After a three-year battle with drug addiction, Whittney Ferguson passed away. She knew she needed help and wanted so badly to get out of it, but it was not an easy journey to go through.
Struggling through her addiction, she went to the extent of taking explicit photos of herself just to fund her cravings. The stigma of addiction has refrained families from coming out and letting others know what kind of life it is living with a drug addict, or how much pain the family goes through. Better educational programs should start early in school and should prove to be effective in warning kids about the dangers of drug addiction.
A son’s death due to fentanyl and crystal meth overdose has led this father to know more about the said drug and to understand how people become hooked on drugs. He also shared the story behind his son’s death, and that despite his knowledge of his son’s addiction, that he remained a loving father to him. This father joined several drug awareness programs to help others know about the dangers of using illicit substances and how to avoid becoming a drug dependent.
Just when she was about to get back to her normal life after being sober, Shannon went back to her addiction. She lost her job, her home, custody of her daughter, and eventually her life. She just stopped pursuing her goal of becoming clean and sober.
Shannon lived in a room she rented from one of the members of the local recovery groups. One of her friends came home one day, hearing blasting music coming from her room – only to find her dead.
Jack Bodie, a father of a 17-year-old who died from fentanyl overdose, expressed his deep remorse for the death of his son. His son’s story is one of the many other overdose victims that remained just another story for others.
He recounted the number of times that he has read over the news about these drug-related deaths, and yet the government lacked the initiative to build additional clinics that would somehow help these drug users to reclaim their lives.
Mental health is another issue that should be given notice. With clinics available, it would somehow arrest the number of overdose cases in the county.
A young boxer from Vancouver Island lost his life due to a drug overdose. He fought for his addiction for the last 10 years of his life. His mother was aware of this and refused to have him in her home if he continues to use drugs.
However, four days later, after leaving their home, his body was found dead in an unfinished garage. Toxicology results show that the cause of death was due to fentanyl overdose.
A word of caution: to stop drug addiction, medical and psychological help is needed. It is not easy to stop in a single snap.
A mother who grieves over her loss believed that his son was in control of his drug use, only to find out that his addiction just gotten worse. From pot to Xanax and opioid pills, he also confessed to using heroin. What made it worse was when he took heroin and fentanyl together.
Matthew Wallin is a typical child – shy, sensitive, and friendly to a close group of people. It was not until when he was on his 10th grade when the father of one of his friends succumbed to an accident and had to take Oxycontin when he and his friends took the pill to try it for fun. This started his addiction, which led him to a rehab when he was in 12th Grade, which he eventually dropped out.
After going through a 90-day rehab program, he had a relapse. He turned to stealing things from home just to buy the drugs. He was then sent to another wilderness rehab program. Halfway into the program, he overdosed and died.
Alcohol was the first substance that he abused at the age of 14. Eventually, he started using drugs – cocaine, meth, oxycontin, and heroin. His parents learned about it and offered him to submit himself for treatment, to which he obliged. Only after his death did his parents become aware that he took a fatal drug in the form of fentanyl.
A mother’s son had fed his addiction by stealing money from her. He was sent to a rehab facility to help him get clean, which he did for the next 6 years. Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come.
Sharon Hajko got a knock at the door and received the bad news. After his death, Sharon joined several support groups that helped her recover from her loss and shared his son’s story to enlighten people who may be in the same situation as his son had.
It was difficult for a mother to accept the death of his son. She knew that he smoked pot and that she didn’t allow it at home. They were not worried since their son had a job and was saving money.
One morning, they were surprised that their son didn’t come down for breakfast. When they went to his room, they found him lifeless. Detectives found heroin. The autopsy showed that he took heroin laced with fentanyl – a lethal combination that ended his life.
After his numerous struggles with drug addiction, Dayton Wilson was able to redeem his life back and to live his normal life. At 17 years old, he had his first overdose at his father’s home, which prompted him to leave and to stay with his friend instead because of shame.
Not realizing that he was headed to a more serious situation, he became more hooked on heroin and meth. Even if he had a heart infection, he still found himself back to using the drugs again. He eventually had aphasia, which led him to slowly look away from his old habit and start his life all over again.
A recovering drug addict shares her story – her struggles on how life was at the worst. Together with her in a support group are 50 other moms whose families have been stricken with the society’s disease.
Many of the attendees lost a child under 30 years old. Years after the death, the families continue to mourn their loss. To see their son or daughter go through overdose episodes is truly heartbreaking. Some of them had to deal with it more than the others. Each time that they escape death is a relief, but somehow knowing that the addiction has never been totally treated may worry them until the day when they meet their loved ones’ death.
A family in Medina County blames the government for the lack of medical facilities to take in overdose victims. They lost two of their children from a heroin overdose. It never occurred to them than their once lively teenager was using heroin to self-medicate her depression. She was found dead on the day of her graduation.
After her death, his brother was also found to be using the same drugs. Her sister Ashley struggled to find help as Marc was starting to experience severe withdrawal symptoms. He was in and out of detox and rehab, but Marc somehow could not get away from the temptation of using drugs.
Being an NBA player is a profession that many people aspire. However, Chris Herren lost his shot to become a popular professional basketball player due to drug addiction. Luckily, he was able to completely recover, and he goes to different states sharing his experiences so that people may be able to learn more about the truth about drug addiction. The hope is that more people may somehow find ways on how to help anyone who may be suffering from it.
Not every recovering addict may have made it this far, like what happened to Emma Sturgeon. She was addicted to both Adderall and alcohol. After using them for some time, she would consume a month’s worth in just a couple of days.
What pushed her to the edge was when she got disappointed after a person he met through Tinder didn’t text her back. To relieve her frustrations, she opted to “party” – a deadly combination of Adderall and alcohol in an unimaginable amount, which landed her in the hospital and left her in a coma.
After the accident, she went to rehab for six months and attended AA meetings. Now, she is completely clean and sober.
A mother would only want to have the fondest memories of her children. But what happened to her son is something that she relives every single day of her life. His son was successful back then, but eventually hit rock bottom: he turned to prescription drugs and alcohol.
Gov. Christie’s knowledge about what has stricken the man now talks about destigmatizing drug addiction, as well as making rehabilitation programs and recovery a national priority.
Not all drug addicts may have the same willingness as Marc Goff had. He admitted to using marijuana at the age of 15 and taking pain pills to help him with his back pain. He eventually became drug dependent for 6 years. With the encouragement of his mother-in-law to seek help, he readily accepted to submit himself to therapy and is now living a normal life.
Dr. Darryl Gebien confessed to being a fentanyl addict. He has now fully recovered and is out to spread awareness about the dangers of fentanyl use. He lost his family and his job because of his addiction. And coming out about his story is his means of helping others stay away from drugs and to somehow know the means to identify people who may be in such predicament.
Childhood friends Dustin Manning and Joseph Abraham were childhood friends. It was during their Middle School years that their addiction started. Joseph had an ankle injury and had been prescribed with a painkiller. What could have triggered his addiction is when he had a depression due to losing two of his closest friends. Dustin and Joseph were not in touch for a long time but the police believed that they had the same source of drugs, since he drugs found in both incidents were identical.
Childhood friends met the same fate. The parents believe that prevention is the key and should start early on in school.
While doctors continue to provide the best treatment possible for every patient that comes to their clinics, prescription drug abuse continues to haunt individuals and families. A pharmaceutical company can earn more than a billion dollars with just one opioid drug alone. However, the government is failing to see the negative impact that this has brought to the people.
Such prescription drugs may have been developed for the purpose of helping people in need, but its long-term effect has terrible consequences that may lead to death.
Emma intentionally posted her before-and-after drug use photo to help inspire people who may be in the same situation she had before that there is hope. After being clean and sober for the past months, she is living proof that anyone can get another shot at life.
After taking Adderall prescribed to her when she was in high school, she became addicted. What made her addiction worse was when she began taking it with alcohol. Being hospitalized after her ordeal made her realize that life is too beautiful to waste away with drugs.
The family is in disbelief upon knowing the cause of their loved one’s death – fentanyl overdose. Fentanyl is a drug that is about 100 times more potent than heroin. When this is crushed and injected directly into the veins, it can give the full amount of medication that the body cannot tolerate.
By sharing the video about their son’s death, the family aims to help save the lives of others and educate other families who may be going through the same situation.
These true-to-life stories should make us more aware of the impact of substance abuse and drug overdose. Most of these cases teach valuable lessons that we can summarize in the following:
1. Intervene early.
Delayed intervention is close to having no intervention at all. As soon as you notice your family member or friend showing signs of drug abuse, intervene as soon as possible.
You don’t have to go all ballistic and attack the person whom you suspect to be abusing drugs. Try to ask them in a calm and careful manner about the signs that you’ve been seeing, say a significant dip in work productivity or a visibly clear decrease in the person’s health condition. In other words, intervene and ask questions not as a police officer but as a friend.
Early intervention is a key to effective treatment if done properly.
2. Reach out to people who are into drug use.
People who are into drugs may not accept the fact that they’re already addicted, and they will probably never listen to anyone who calls them out for this behavior. They will, however, listen to people who care about them.
When talking about drug abuse treatment, you first need to build a relationship with a person whom you want to help. You shouldn’t turn a blind eye on people who are into drug addiction, but you shouldn’t judge them either. Reaching out to them involves showing that you care and assuring them that you will support them as they decide to undergo treatment.
3. Know the appropriate treatment options.
Sending people to drug abuse treatment centers is one huge step. That’s why it would be beneficial if you can talk to them about potential options for treatment. In line with this, you need to read up on the treatment options available in your locality.
4. Know the emergency hotlines and helplines for drug-related incidents
Take note of the hotline numbers to call in case of an emergency related to drug overdose and substance abuse. You may not realize it today but knowing an emergency number or drug hotline can save someone’s life in the future.
5. Make your loved ones aware of the substance abuse epidemic.
To prevent future drug abuse, start educating your family – especially your kids – about substance abuse. You may start talking about the realities and dangers of substance abuse to your children as early as 8th grade and onwards.
Aside from family and friends, people who may not be emotionally or personally involved in these drug abuse cases can still make a positive impact. If you’re working in public service areas such as schools, government, law enforcement, or judiciary system, you can make a difference in addressing substance abuse through these strategies:
1. Review and revise existing drug policies and strategies.
Whether the drug policies in your locality are successful or not, reviewing them could be a good idea if you want to intensify or improve them further. You may check the drug use trends in your location, because these can give you an idea if the policies and techniques are working. Conducting a survey can also help assess the public’s perception on the drug use issue.
2. Know your responsibilities in maintaining a drug-free environment.
Wherever you are working or spending much of your time in, there’s a big chance that you can do something to address the drug problem. Study the scope of your work and evaluate how you can contribute to drug abuse prevention programs in your area.
3. Allocate budget for substance abuse prevention.
Prevention programs for drug abuse are naturally going to cost significantly, but companies and governments that understand the sheer weight of the issue will have no problem spending for it. Based on the facts and figures listed earlier, it’s easy to acknowledge the harsh reality of drug overdose and substance abuse. Setting aside a fixed amount can already make a world of difference.
4. Conduct drug awareness programs, starting in schools.
NIDA’s Monitoring The Future Survey is already a stark reminder of the potential impact of substance abuse on children. That is why kids need to know these realities as early as they can, starting from their schools. In addition, government officials in cities and towns also need to come up with education programs for the general public.
5. Implement drug testing programs within your respective fields.
Drug testing has proven to be a highly effective means of preventing substance abuse, especially in members of the workforce. If you haven’t started implementing drug testing procedures in your company or group, check the legality of conducting a testing program in your case. It might be possible that your company belongs to a field where drug testing is mandatory by federal or state rules.
Solving the substance abuse dilemma won’t take a few days or even months. With the scope and gravity of the issue, it may take years for any drug policy or intervention program to gain traction. However, if all members of society can take part in addressing the issue within their respective bounds, removing the substance abuse problem is possible. That way, we won’t be reading painful stories of drug-related deaths in the long run.