Healing and Hope, National Service and the Opioid Crisis

By | September 2, 2019

the opioid crisis is one of the focus
areas of the President’s administration there are 1,800 AmeriCorps and Senior
Corps members on the frontlines addressing the opioid crisis through
working as recovery coaches they’re working in education they’re working
with anti-drug organizations they’re really making a difference
I’m really grateful for their service and our coalition was started in 2003 by
parents who lost their son to a drug overdose and the they really just wanted
to make sure that other parents didn’t have to go through or what what they’ve
been through so my son was a professional baseball player that’s his
life until he had a career-ending injury and they would give him pain medication
for those surgeries but when he got a career-ending injury the drugs came with
him on a Sunday afternoon I heard a loud noise sitting upstairs in the basement
so I go down to see what caused that and oldest son had ran his car through the
basement and we went upstairs he’s you know he said let’s go upstairs and he
said I need money for drugs if you don’t give me money for drugs I’m gonna kill
you so that started a fight and during that altercation knowing that the
potential for me not to survive I shot him but not with the intent to
kill him I want him to stop I had to get him off or I wasn’t gonna survive and
that was for the protection of the other people in the house besides myself at very very heartbreaking something
you’ll never forget in your life time gives you time to work through and maybe
put that behind you you never forget and that’s one of the reasons that I’d go
out and to help other people you know in doing this volunteer work and if you can
help one person at a time that’s more than you had and that’s how
i satisfy myself and that’s treatment for me well there’s a Senior Corps
volunteer I’ll go around the communities you know I might go police stations
visit with other people talk with people that might be interested or need help
and drug rehab and let them know about the drug coalition that we’re here to
help and direct them to the proper pace to get help the opioid epidemic has really affected
every kind of institution we have and every part of our social fabric it’s
pulled families apart it has made it it is damaged the schools we have an entire
lost generation and an entire generation of children being raised by their
grandparents we want to give them all the support we can right now
grandparents raising grandchildren usually fall into extreme poverty
because they don’t have the same financial benefits that other foster
families have Lena is as a grandparent with lived experience she’s really able
to connect with people and understand their issues and to help connect them to
resources personally my son is an adult drug addict
my son probably started using it was 15 years old he was born addicted what they
call it exposed he’s born exposed to cocaine and heroin his mother used the
week he was born she was still using so when he was born they flew him to
Albuquerque after he was born I believe it was that same day he went to
Albuquerque and he was in the nikah for a month so when he got out of the niku
they needed somebody to take the baby from the hospital and so I I told her
that I would be the responsible parent or guardian we are the kinship guardian
of the Zion primarily we’ve been working on building capacity with with our
benefits enrollment center so we have people come in asking for help for
Medicaid and Medicare and a lot of those are grandparents and so that’s primarily
what I’ve been doing he loves his trucks and his cars and he loves the basketball
involves to just play and play outside and he loves to run he’s a runner
I have I have no clue how to stop the opiate addiction so I can see I can see
where we can start to make a difference but it will take some time Lynne is one of the cities as being
hardest hit by the opioid crisis the numbers her over those numbers are bear
that out in 2016 our office has responded to 450 overdoses of which 50
ended up being fatal and in 2017 our officers responded to 500 overdoses of
which 65 have been fatal so the numbers go up and up one of my brothers he
approached me with a percocet 30 milligram I mean that sort of where it
all kicked off I used heroin for about six to eight months I’d say I did things
that I never thought I would I put my family in position that they should have
never had to be in in the first place and I lost all my friends so as a party
America America remember what I do is I work with the police and they they’re
able to give me referrals to people who have overdosed in the past I work with
struggling families that come in a lot trying to find something for their loved
ones that are struggling with addiction and then doing a lot of outreach outside
with the homeless population is a big part of what I do during the day we
accepted parries off of recovery coaches because we realize there’s no single
answer you know sometimes arrests are the best
answer at that moment maybe somebody gets in the drug court maybe because
they’re off the street they don’t fail the overdose but it’s not a long-term
answer you know getting people into recovery into programs you know detoxes
those are the long-term answers Cody’s been pretty good support for me I guess
I have trust issues with people and I think that he broke that down on that
barrier pretty quick with me and Ben texted me and we’ve been keeping in
touch Learn more NationalService.gov/opioids

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