What if the opioid epidemic got the same amount of attention?

Covid-19 hit and the world stopped.

But a deadly epidemic has been raging for nearly a decade with millions of lost lives. Even since this virus hit, opioid overdoses and deaths have increased. After seeing the numbers go down, that’s been a devastating change. Those who struggle with substance use disorder have also died by suicide overall increasing deaths of despair.

The isolation has been deadly. Face-to-face support fell apart and for a lot of people, hope went with it.

The camaraderie between doctors, researchers have been unprecedented for Covid-19. Yet we don’t have nearly the data or working relationships for drug and alcohol-related deaths.

What’s more in my home state of Virginia, we spent more than $200 million on booze over March and April 2020, according to figures from the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, an increase of $30 million in sales from the previous year. That’s happening across the country and the world.

So while the pandemic seriously affected those who were struggling for recovery, the crisis may have prompted more who will live with an addiction.

Meanwhile, our most promising workforce, those in their thirties and forties are dying or finding themselves jobless. An entire generation has been lost and the crisis has unhinged the delicate balance and success of support for those trying to find recovery and those already there.

I didn’t start all this to say there is no hope. There is. We just can’t let up. Let the protests we’ve seen lately fuel our passion to stop the deaths related to addiction.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked mental health speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational mental health keynotes, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, anxiety, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

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