Nearly everywhere in the nation, overdoses from opioid painkillers and opiate street drugs, like heroin, continue to devastate communities. Deaths related to substance overdoses have risen in number to rival fatalities from automobile accidents. The statistics are nothing less than disturbing. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has estimated that opioids kill around 90 Americans everyday.
There’s no question that the country is experiencing a widespread addiction epidemic. Recovering addicts who have survived addiction and are now living their lives drug free are in a unique position to offer insight and advice about how to get clean to the still suffering addict. In communities across the United States recovering addicts lead the way in the fight against the addiction epidemic.
In Guilford County, North Carolina, a task force has been formed to provide free access to the life-saving drug, Naloxone. Naloxone is a medicine that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Chase Holleman, who has been in recovery for four years, founded the group and hopes to spread awareness about addiction.
Holleman’s group, known as the Guilford Naloxone Task Force, has long-term goals to create programs that will help in allowing easier access to treatment for recovering addicts. Holleman has shared that Naloxone has saved his life multiple times while he was still suffering in the grips of his addiction. He has expressed that his path in recovery has led him to take the initiative to get involved in social work and fight the opioid crisis on the frontlines.
Another member of the group, recovering addict, Alex Smith, has expressed his opinion that, “you can’t help someone if they’re dead,” while advocating for the value of Naloxone. “The first step is, how do we keep someone alive long enough so that they could find the recovery support services,” Smith explained to Guilford’s local FOX News station.
Elsewhere, the Fuck Heroin Foundation, out of Delray Beach, Florida, organizes rallies, distributes informative materials and merchandise and helps addicts without the financial means to seek aid get into detoxes and treatment centers in Delray, which is sometimes called, “the recovery capital of the world.” The founders, themselves, are recovering addicts. Frankie P. and his mother Lena, a professional interventionist, have dedicated their lives to helping still sick and suffering addicts get the help they need to get back on their feet. These two are another example of people who have been directly affected by this epidemic, giving back toward the effort to end the turmoil. Find more information about the Fuck Heroin Foundation at their website.
Folks in recovery who are members of 12-Step programs like Narcotics Anonymous lead by example everywhere. People who have beat addiction and are now living clean and sober offer inspiration and are a glimmer of hope that a better life is possible. The addiction epidemic is a growing problem, but the recovery community is also growing and recovering addicts are leading the way to end this crisis.
If you, or someone you love, is struggling with an addiction to either prescription pain killers or street drugs such as heroin, help is available. For a national hotline you can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at: 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This service can provide you with referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
Visit the Narcotics Anonymous (NA) World Services site to find out where you can catch a meeting near you!