“I read the news today, Oh boy…” I am echoing John Lennon’s sentiments as I sing this phrase after watching the national news and one more feature on the Opioid Epidemic. More statistics, more information, more deaths, more families in free fall. The anger my husband and I feel originates from the sense of helplessness against overwhelming odds: drug cartels that have been well-functioning dispensers of deadly drugs for decades; pharmaceutical companies that seem to conveniently forget that the Hippocratic Oath and swearing to non-maleficence relates to all of the medical professions; government bureaucracies that can’t seem to either figure it out or get out of the way to stem the tide of the rising death toll that is killing the future of our nation— and the world.
This is a recurring, intensely frustrating, feeling that I have carried my entire adult life: seeing all too clearly what lies beneath the surface of a problem, whether it is personal, corporal, or physical in nature, while the issues seem too big for one person to deal with. So, most of the time, I do nothing. But the opioid crisis and its effects on surviving family and friends—this did not just hit close to home, it hit the bullseye. It went straight to our hearts and shattered them forever. We had a choice to make: either walk around with a bandage over our hearts and go on with our daily lives, or bare our wounded souls in the hope that as we do so, others in the same condition will be drawn to do the same and perhaps, just perhaps, we can together begin to affect lasting changes in the demise of our children’s’ lives.