The current substance abuse crisis affecting the United States is impossible to ignore. It has made orphans of children, stolen brothers and sisters, and lead to parents having to bury their children. The substance abuse epidemic claims thousands every day and yet society still carries stigmas that suggest those who die of overdose somehow deserved it. We victim blame and ridicule until the face of the epidemic becomes one we love.
Fortunately substance abuse doesn’t always end in tragedy. Rather through luck or fast intervention, surviving an overdose can be the eye opener it takes to lead to recovery. Though everyone hits “rock bottom” at different points for different people, recognizing the severity of the situation and reaching out for help is the most important step in beginning the journey toward the life you deserve. However, barriers caused by social stigmas and mistrust continue to stand in the way of healing and addiction recovery. To help dismantle those barriers, we asked overdose survivors in recovery to share what they wish you knew about addiction. Here’s what they said:
“I never intended to overdose. It’s a lot easier to do than most people realize. I never realized I was risking overdose every time I popped pills or [used heroin].”
–Jennifer W., 47
“Don’t fall for that false idea that overdose happens to other people. I OD’d on less coke than I used on any given day. My body was over my bullsh*t. Thank God I woke up after that- some people don’t.”
-Mark D., 29
“Most people don’t even realize alcohol poisoning is a form of overdose. I didn’t know it until a group session I had in treatment. It’s crazy to think that my friends used to joke that if you didn’t get sick you didn’t have a good time. Those people nearly let me die.”
-Quentin S., 24