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Last night I had the opportunity to share my story on a panel alongside some incredible people! We had shown the film, “Chasing the Dragon” and had a discussion afterwards.
The audience consisted of nursing students from St. Vincent’s College and St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, CT. They were all SO interested about the topic of opioid abuse and they were passionate to be part of the solution!
As grateful as I was to be a part of this panel and provide vital resources that these nurses needed, I was SHOCKED when I heard a comment that another panelist said.
“Every three weeks we have a 9/11”
Meaning, every three weeks, the amount of overdose deaths are equivalent to the amount of deaths that occurred on 9/11/01
I’ve heard and experienced so much regarding addiction and the opioid crisis, so something never shocks me. However, this one did.
Maybe it was because I remember 9/11 and the horror of it.
Also, I thought it was kind of interesting. When 9/11 happened, so many resources were created and became available for family members of victims and preventative strategies.
I feel like for the opioid crisis, there is still so much more this country (both citizens and government) can do to tackle this epidemic.
I did realize some similarities though.
STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION, Both with the opioid crisis and with 9/11. People judged and made assumptions that anyone from the Mid-East were a terrorist or supported terrorism. In the opioid epidemic, people judge addicts, people in recovery, and family members.
Another similarity I noticed was that memorials were made. I’m seeing a lot of remembrance quilts, vigils, and walks throughout the country. The same things happened for the victims of 9/11.
This fact that the panelist said hurt me because HOW IS THAT FACT STILL NOT ENOUGH TO DECLARE A NATIONAL EMERGENCY?!
Anyways, I would love to know your thoughts on what I heard.
I’ve included an article about this statement and trailer of “Chasing the Dragon”
This post brought me to tears, then I watched the trailer and cried even more.
You wrote- “Meaning, every three weeks, the amount of overdose deaths are equivalent to the amount of deaths that occurred on 9/11/01:…
This is just terrifying and scary. I agree with you, how is that not a National Emergency? I don’t have a lot to say because I am in shock from what I read, and in tears still from the trailer. I do want to say thank you though for making this aware to others, and also doing these panels to educate and get the word out there that this has got to come to end.
Thanks again for sharing. <3
This was truly a shocking fact to hear. I would have never guessed or even pretended to know that the amount of overdose deaths were so high that they could tally up to the 9/11 death totals in just 3 weeks. That has left me in utter shock as well. I can definitely understand and see the similarities between the action steps communities have taken as far as making remembrance quilts, and holding memorials and such, but I fail to see how doing these things will prevent the crisis from escalating or occurring in the first place.
I had discussed with a coworker a little while ago about how someone had shared a post on here regarding the possibility of opening a “supervised center for using”, which doesn’t make any sense at all either. I feel like we need to find solutions, not create band-aids and cover ups because this is a real problem.
Thank you, truly, for all the work that you do!
PS. This trailer is so real and raw, I loved it.
Luz, I’ve heard about the supervised injection facilities and I think it’s a terrible idea. I’m supportive of harm reduction methods, but I feel as if this would NOT support recovery efforts AT ALL. I’ve heard the data that supports this idea, but I can’t help but put my hat on of an active addict. When I put myself back into the mindset and lifestyle I was in when I was actively using, I don’t see this injection facility being of any good use.
And this is why…
1. When you are a heroin addict, when you “cop” aka purchase your heroin, 9 out of 10 times, you need to get high IMMEDIATELY or ASAP. whether its because you’re in withdrawal or you just simply need to get high, you are going to do it literally as soon as possible, which means at the nearest place possible. this is why so many people are overdosing in public restrooms. they need somewhere close by with access to water (if they dont have some already on them). Also another reason why you find so many people overdosed in vehicles too. Once you get your dope, you pull over and do it. I say all of that to say this… an addict is not going to take the time to drive (or walk) to a facility to do their dope. It’s just too much unnecessary effort and energy (that they’ve already been doing all day just to get dope).
2. It risks trouble for cops and addicts. When you are carrying heroin on you, you are avoiding cops as much as possible. So you’re not going to take the risk of going the extra distance to go to the injection facility. Cops would have “easy bait” with the injection facility because they would be able to park in the vicinity and stop people and search them for drugs (if you think they can’t find probable cause, you’re mistaken). The facility site would also be a good area for drug dealers to hang around to sell their product. Remember, it’s all business to them. all of the arrests is fueling “arresting our way out of it”, not the opposite.
3.the injection facility site would also be dangerous for the neighborhood because addicts will do anything to get their dope, especially rob people. So if an addict knows that other addicts have dope on them while walking/driving to the facility, they will see it as a perfect opportunity to rob another addict.
in conclusion, I don’t think its a good idea at all.
I definitely didn’t think the supervised using facility was a good idea beforehand, but thank you so much for sharing your reasoning why you don’t think it would be either. It just further supports my opinion that it wouldn’t address the root cause of this issue, the reasoning why the drugs are being used. Bandaids can only work for so long, if at all!
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