OPIOIDS. OPIOIDS. OPIOIDS.
Do I have your attention? I’ve noticed that when I use the term “drug prevention,” people sometimes tune out…but when they hear “Opioids,” they appear to perk up. Opioids, they understand.
Many people, sadly, aren’t entirely sold on the importance or relevance of drug prevention to their daily lives. “Not my child. Not my family.” Even Ginger Katz, a mom who lost her son to a drug overdose and who we feature on our blog this month, shared the same feeling before it happened to her. Ginger’s story is both heartbreaking and inspiring, but if we don’t show stories like Ginger’s, the public is going to continue to sweep the problem under the rug. And as Ginger so aptly said when we interviewed her, “we shove it under the rug until our heads hit the ceiling.”
We understand that drug prevention isn’t a “sexy” hot topic. On top of that, we are all needing a brain vacation and many of us only have enough time and energy to deal with what’s in front of us.
I am coining 2 new mental conditions:
1. Bad news fatigue!
The media only blasts bad news; thus, at some point, our brain simply turns it off to survive.
2. Too busy…I can’t do anything about it!
We don’t seem to solve any pressing problems the media is blasting because solutions aren’t sensational don’t sell. Solutions require thinking, understanding and action. Since we are overworked and living in a time frenzy, we deny and say, “it’s not my problem.”
When someone brings up the topic of opioids in conversation, individuals say, “Oh, I know. Isn’t it terrible? I wish there was something we could do.” Sigh!!! Since 2008, we’ve been telling people exactly what to do but somehow we’re not getting through. Help me, Rhonda!
Do you see the link between prevention drug abuse education and the 63,000+ individuals who die each year from drug overdose?
We are in denial. The images shown on TV, online and in print of grieving parents and desperate communities are tuned out. We fail to connect the dots for fear they will lead back to us.
For that reason, we are dedicating some space in our newsletter to shine a light on the parents who are impacted by addiction, starting with Ginger Katz. This is a realistic, get-your-head-out-of-the-sand approach which might save your child.
Our antidote to bad news fatigue will be tips each month to promote good mental health. First, we will share the wonderful wisdom of Dr. Joan Borysenko, one of the originators of the Relaxation Response with Dr. Herbert Benson.
I was in Washington last week, working on an exciting project intended to stem the Opioid epidemic through grassroots participation. When asked why I believe that parents have the power to reduce drug use by 50%, my answer is simple: we’ve done it before. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and so has CSAP, which credits the work of the Parent Movement for the 50% reduction in casual drug use from 1979-1991.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but one thing I know for sure: from now on, I’ll start each conversation with “Opioids, opioids, opioids.” Because that is the key to expanding the conversation about how to prevent the problem.
Until next time,