As board members for 2 End the Stigma, many of us attended this town hall on addiction recovery with our state and local representatives and Ryan Hampton a recovery advocate, to talk about addiction and where the gaps are.
So what are we lacking right now for addiction recovery? Sheriff Leonard says transportation. It’s hard to get to your job when you have $20k worth of fines on your record and no way to pay them off. And in Chesterfield County where this was taking place, there is no public transportation system, leaving those in recovery struggling to make AA or NA meetings, their parole appointments and more.
We also discussed Medicaid and having those in jail apply prior to leaving which I’m thrilled about but that application process takes about 6 months. What does anyone do while waiting for those benefits? So we need a bridge until there is final approval.
One of the speakers, a mom like me, talked about losing her son to overdose. What about knocked me over was she also lost her second son. To overdose. That was so heartbreaking to hear. I know what we’ve been through and still go through. She was pressing forward, still. And it’s been all of three months since her son died.
While nationally overdose deaths went up 30%, here in central Virginia they rose 150%! That is unacceptable. That doesn’t even count other drug-related deaths.
As most of you know, my son Charles died by suicide while going through withdrawal. The method left no question. So his death is not even counted statistically since it was not an overdose death. But he did count.
We do need to go further upstream and prevent addiction which doesn’t have the shiny profits, so few take it on. The points I cover in my book on suicide prevention for teachers and educators are the same strategies that work for reducing self-harm and substance misuse. A focus on student wellness overall, creating a foundation of connection, and helping students develop coping skills all helps reduce unhealthy coping.
And one more thing.
Right before the pandemic, Kerry and I joined Carrie Coyner to champion a bill for the recovery school in Virginia which passed and then got scrapped later due to the pandemic. We need those funds back in the budget.
I know I have one foot in addiction and another in suicide prevention. That’s because my story includes both and the two are tied together in too many deaths. We are losing a whole generation to preventable death.
By the way, Ryan Hampton who is in the picture at the top, and travels around the country to support those in recovery, endorsed by first book, Diary of a Broken Mind.
“Anne Moss and her late son Charles bring tragedy, hope, and healing through the pages of Diary of a Broken Mind. The unimaginable pain and suffering that countless American families go through as a result of a loved one’s addiction and suicide is real. Through the lens of her son’s musical lyrics, Anne Moss Rogers explores the question these families ask themselves … Why? And throughout the process, we all learn how to find purpose—even through some of our darkest moments.”
—RYAN HAMPTON, AUTHOR, AMERICAN FIX: INSIDE THE OPIOID ADDICTION CRISIS—AND HOW TO END IT