National Overdose Awareness Day just passed. I thought I’d be more excited for the attention given to overdoses, but something felt off. Maybe the part where most acknowledging it have been affected in some way is what bothers me. Those people are already aware. When will everyone else catch up?
Maybe the wordiness throws me. National Overdose Awareness Day. Yeah, I almost fell asleep writing that. Its not catchy like that Ice Bucket Challenge. There’s nothing fun or exciting about drug overdoses, except, of course, for the families who haven’t lost their loved ones thanks to Narcan.
Narcan may have saved lives, but it isn’t a cure, and sadly, there are many who still mistakenly believe that Narcan is part of the problem. Imagine that there are people out there who think that saving lives is a problem. Or that there are people who think that there should be limits on Narcan. So we’ll save you once, but that’s it. After that, well, kiss off.
So that’s sort of my problem with National Overdose Awareness Day. Well, that and that I don’t know what color the ribbon is. We get a ribbon, don’t we? Or maybe not because so many still believe that addiction is a choice, or that it’s because of bad parenting, or socioeconomic status, or, well, I don’t know what they think. I just am pretty sure that the people who need to be aware are not. Those people are pretty sure that addiction happens to someone else, not their loved ones.
I went to a wake not that long ago for a kid who overdosed. I sat in a room and thanked God that it wasn’t my kid. I then asked God to forgive me for my gratitude because I knew how easily it could have been my kid. It was an awful conundrum.
I had a kid that I loved overdose in my home. There really is no way to ever describe the terror. There is no way to explain what it felt like when I received a thank you card from his mother for calling 911. I did nothing other than call 911 and a mother was grateful. I will never forget hugging her at the hospital, grateful again.
The problem with National Overdose Awareness Day is that people aren’t grateful unless they are affected. People think it isn’t their problem. They have all the answers, until it is their kid, their loved one.
I wish I only loved one addict, but I don’t. I watched a lot of kids grow up who became addicts, kids who came from good homes, kids who came from money, a lot of money. I watched kids I love overdose. I sat at a wake with kids I love that had been to too many wakes. None of them need a National Drug Awareness Day. They need answers. They need a government that stops treating addiction like a crime. They need a government that stops allowing a rehab industry to remain a billion dollar industry, even with a 90% fail rate.
So yeah, I’m not a fan of National Overdose Awareness Day. Maybe I should be. Maybe it’s a start, but I want more. I expect more. I wish everyone else would too.