Most people find it hard to attend anything inside of a funeral home beyond pre-planning, memorial services or making necessary arrangements in the death of a loved one. It is my belief that every one of us in attendance last night walked away with more life, more hope and more informed whether directly affected by this epidemic we call “Opioid Crisis” or not.
Citizens rallied together inside of Johnson Funeral Home in Richlands, NC last night uniting on becoming educated on the administration of Narcan (Naloxone), the Opiate/Opioid Crisis, signs of overdose and much more. Narcan comes generally in three forms to administer, an injection by self-fill syringe, auto-dispense device or by nasal spray. Administration training was instructed by Community Paramedic Coordinator, Christopher Dudley with EMS.
The gems behind the movement Sneads Ferry’s HOPE, Vanessa Boyles Sapp and Cindi Patane spoke on their own personal family’s losses with their son’s both overdosing just one day apart in 2016. Co-Founder, Cindy Patane said, “In my heart I truly believe that the way to get this epidemic under control is prevention.
Courtney Weyer, age 27, spoke courageously on her then, 73rd day of sobriety, about her long road of addiction and the struggles within more so the freedom she feels from being free, given another chance thanks to Chris Dudley and Narcan being administered to revive her. Weyer stated during her recovery testimony, “I was just 30 seconds away from not being here.” Her testimony was so transparent and real, she is highly commended for the courage to expose her truth from overdosing twice, nearly losing her son, not having two of her children due to the grips of addiction on her life. A powerful way to save others and help families understand how it is from inside of addiction is speaking out and she certainly did just that.
Now, that is just a glimpse of the information provided yet there certainly was way more between those above-mentioned so far. The biggest factor is there was a lot of information provided that allowed people to become educated on the truth about overdoses, why narcan is provided and how it is funded. There are a lot of societal myths and false information floating around the streets of social media, across outlets comment sections, from mouths of those who spew mere hatred with “Narcan is enabling them,” or “Let the trash take itself out.” Well would you feel that way if it were your 62 year old grandmother who just had a double hip replacement and she figured it might be okay to take two pain pills since she slept through the last dose or even mix them up, creating a misuse/accidental overdose? Would you call grandma a junkie? Would you say, let natural selection take it’s course? Doubtful.
More overdoses come from seniors than middle age and youth. Forbes.com in 2017 wrote, “As the number of fatalities has shot up, the public face of addiction has shifted. In contrast to past drug epidemics, opioids are killing white Americans at double to triple the rates of their black and Hispanic peers. The problem is most acute in rural areas, but transcends socioeconomic class and income level. What’s more, it’s the middle-aged who’ve been hardest hit. Though overdose death rates have risen for every age group, late-wave Boomers (ages 55 to 64) have seen the most dramatic percentage-point spike since 1999. The highest death rate (30.0), meanwhile, belongs to early-wave Xers (ages 45 to 54).” In studies at HarvardX, I learned that the first opioid crisis began in the mid-1800’s in the United States. This was an epidemic of opioid addiction was becoming overexposed to opioids and civil war soldiers becoming addicted to morphine. There were doctors who had patients visiting their offices multiple times a day for morphine injections. The Bayer Corporation introduced heroin as a lower risk of overdose death based on a study done on mice. It is obvious that it was soon discovered that heroin is not less of a risk than morphine. By 1914, the federal government stepped in to pass laws and declining the epidemic of opioid addiction. In the 1970’s began to hit low-income white populations. It wasn’t until 1996 that the next epidemic began. The CDC has been very clear about the cause of our vurrent opiooid addiction and it is the medical community over-prescribing. As the medical community increased prescribing, the incline in overdoses began as well which started in 1990’s. In 1996, Oxycontin was introduced to the market and marketed aggressively to treat common conditions with pain. Even back in the 1990’s many doctors knew that opioids were highly addictive and there should be strong limitations to using them for non-cancer pain related illnesses. It was known they should never have been prescribed for ailments such as low back pain, chronic headaches, fibromyalgia. There were 20,000 educational programs released in the first six years of the release of OxyContin where doctors began to hear the risk of addiction had been overblown and that patients were suffering needlessly. Which brings us to present day.
Are you going to join us to combat with prevention by education or only complain about the problem?