This overdose awareness day, my heart is heavy remembering all of those who have been lost in particular over the last year since last year’s overdose awareness day 2016. Since then, I have lost a few friends and acquaintances that I have come to know through various means and it truly saddens me. The two I am thinking of in particular were both in long-term recovery but clearly struggled with the occasional slip and drug relapse every now and then. But unfortunately and sadly, many people who revert back to using drugs, even if their intention was only to use one time during a stressful moment or due to some unexpected trigger, and up either being sucked back in by the disease of addiction lurking in the dark just waiting for that moment to strike and latch on or end up experiencing a heroin overdose and death. Overdose awareness day is great, but it is only one day. So my question isn’t what we should do on overdose awareness day but what we should do starting this overdose awareness day that will transform and turn it into a daily or at least regular practice so that we can potentially save hundreds if not maybe even thousands of lives?
Stop Shame and Stigma of Drug Addicts
Drug addicts, especially those who struggle with opioid and/or heroin use are regularly stigmatized and chastised by the overwhelming public. Many ultimately believe that addicts are beyond hope and help and that the only place suited for them are the tiny, dirty cells inside very large prison walls. But it’s time for those in long-term recovery to stand up and declare their victory over addiction and toss any remaining shame they may feel inside completely away. Even those still in active addiction are not bad people, they have a disease. Since the AMA (American Medical Association), SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) and other well respected medical associations have declared addiction a disease, it’s time for the courts, law, law enforcement and every day society to catch up and wake up and stop persecuting and punishing addicts. Furthermore, those still suffering from drug addiction should be either encourage or mandated into addiction treatment depending on certain circumstances while those who have conquered addiction through treatments and recovery (regardless of the modality and treatment option they’ve chosen) should be highly regarded and even rewarded for transforming their lives into something new and better.
Share Your Story
Your story matters. What you’ve been through matters. Many recovering addicts think that it’s better to keep silent and keep their experiences and stories to themselves. I disagree. I believe that every recovering addict should be a recovery advocate and declare their personal recovery to the mountain tops, proving that there is a solution to drug addiction and that if we can do it, anyone can. Those who have conquered addiction are great but they are no better than the next person still suffering. That’s not to discourage anyone who have beaten their own addiction, it’s only to say that we (and I include myself in this as a recovering addict) need to declare that message to those who are still suffering so they can see that if we can do it, they can do it.
Sharing your story will likely not only garner support for your personal journey making it easier for you to stay in long-term recovery but will inspire and help others find and get the addiction treatment they want, need and deserve.
One of the easiest ways to share your story is to join our free heroin addiction and recovery discussion forum. By registering, you will be able to participate in any discussion, start your own, and share your story with others.
Getting Involved and Saving Lives
Overdose awareness day is clearly about raising awareness of those we have lost due to heroin and other drugs because of the disease of addiction. It was a great opportunity for us to join together as a community, remember those who have been lost and develop strategies for how we can potentially save lives between now and the next Overdose Awareness Day.
Need Addiction Help?
Our online community helps men and women suffering from drug and heroin addiction who are sick and tired of being slaves to addiction get the help and treatment they want, need and deserve. For those ready for a chance, fill out our brief treatment contact form. You can also call our drug rehab hotline at 215-857-5151.
Written by William Charles, Owner and Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News, and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)
We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.
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