F**k you, Opioids

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What am I supposed to say when we get a call from someone telling me that a loved one has passed from an overdose?   I’m sorry?  Please accept my condolences?  Yeah, that’s what I say, but you know what?    My visceral response when I hang up the phone is  F**K you opioids.

Those who know me know I’m not prone to profanity, and as the consummate professional, I cannot say this to the parents, children, siblings, friends, and neighbors that we serve in the aftermath of opioid addiction.  But I want to scream it out loud.   F**K you heroin.

I write this as a son, spouse, parent, brother, grandfather, neighbor, friend, and funeral director.

Folks, we have a problem, a very real problem right here in our backyard, in every town.    Every month we get overdose calls, and from personal experience I’m telling you it’s truly getting worse.    Middlesex County is ranked one of the top 4 counties in New Jersey for opioid overdoses.  I speak to local police officers who are issued 2 doses of Narcan at the beginning of their shifts, and have to come back to the station before their shift is over because they’ve already used the initial 2 doses.   True story.

I am witness to the parents left with inexplicable grief.  I am witness to the spouses left to carry the emotional and economic burden of raising a family alone.  I am witness to the children who are left wondering, “why?”      

I see the emotional devastation left behind. I am pained to hear these tragic stories.   The failed stints in rehab.  The relapses.  The torn and wrecked families. I’m distressed to walk family and friends to a casket containing the broken dreams of a life lost. I’m tired of getting calls from people I personally know telling me their son or daughter was found somewhere having OD’d.

I know addiction is a disease.   It doesn’t respect title, your station in life, your socioeconomic status, or anything else. Trust me…I’ve seen it all.   F**K you opioids.

And, to the victim’s families who are brave enough to share their story in hopes that it will save just one life…

to the countless friends, neighbors, and programs that offer support to the families stricken by this disease both near and far….

to East Brunswick Police Department’s Police-Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative (PAARI) that provides outreach to township residents who have had struggles with addiction….

to Immaculate Conception Church’s, “A Safe Place” Support Group that offers support to families dealing with the aftermath of opioid addiction….

we applaud you for your strength and courage, and hope it helps others deal with this terrible epidemic.

We have to stand and fight….as a community.  We have to beat this horrible monster.

Peter Kulbacki

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89 Responses to F**k you, Opioids

  1. Don Weber says:

    Pete – Well said, and I agree completely. But I haven’t heard any workable solutions. Perhaps we’re getting better at responding to the after-effects, but where is the answer to the problem?

  2. DIB says:

    It seems like it’s everywhere, and getting worse. I personally witnessed an incident 2 weeks ago where a driver-a DRIVER!-od’d while driving his car! Fortunately, he pulled over, and the police dosed him with Narcan. But driving!!??!?!??

  3. Bernadette Rosenberger says:

    Peter well said. But how do we go on after losing someone who was so Loved by so many. Losing my son to this “Horrible Addiction”. Watching his Brothers and Sister Aunts Uncles Grandmother Nieces and all the other Family and Friends struggle with the loss of losing him. Heroin is a out of control epidemic! It changes not only the addicts life but everyone else who knew him. I pray every night for a cure , solution to this problem that is Destroying lives.. God Bless from a Forever Broken Mom

    • All Managers says:

      Our prayers join yours. You’re right, it’s not only the victims, it’s all their family, that’s affected.

      • All Managers says:

        We see it too many times. Families that tell us they’re relieved that “for once, we know where our (son/daughter/whomever) is for the first time in years. Really, really sad.

  4. Laura M. says:

    The real problem is the drug companies and doctors who prescribed this garbage in the first place. It’s legal heroin, of course people are going to get hooked fast. So it’s not f**k you opioids, it’s f**k you medical community who went for the easy solution in the first place.

  5. Elaine says:

    Gloucester Ma. Has started a program that is meeting with success. It has been mentioned nationally, as well. It is called the Angel Program. When you admit you need help and turn in your drugs you are not prosecuted. You are assigned an “angel” who gets you into rehab and stays with you for as long as you need them. When you are released your “angel” is still with you whenever you need them. For however long you need them. So far it seems to be helping. Traditional rehab succeeds for awhile but there is little follow through. Hopefully this has a better success rate.

  6. Jenn says:

    Very strong message. I myself have been off heroin since12 21 2005. I was very lucky to have had that will to live and continue to live.
    The drugs are destroying everyone and everything

    • All Managers says:

      GOOD FOR YOU!!! Hopefully you can be there for someone else. You did it, help someone else if you can. And you have our prayers for keeping on the straight and narrow

  7. Joey Mcnulty says:

    More people die from opiate addiction every three months then the entire amount of people that died on 9/11 it is a epidemic ladies and gentlemen grab your children your son’s a daughter your brothers and sisters and talk to him make sure something’s not going on in silence God bless and be strong

  8. Badge 130 says:

    Well stated Pete, hopefully it opens some people’s eyes and helps make a change in even one persons life.

  9. Gaby says:

    Pete we hear about we see it loosing those precious lives. Parents , loved ones grieve over this devil.
    We need a strong get together from everyone to fight this epidemic.
    I am in it!

    • All Managers says:

      My staff and I are worn…and torn…over it. It’s getting worse. Something has to be done. Prayers for all

  10. Nancy Marotta says:

    I hope all you people realize most opiate addictions start at the Drs. Office . In my opinion , there has to be stricter laws for the medical profession . Is there any way to measure the amount of opiate in the blood stream . Think about it !

  11. Ursula Nuzzo says:

    My brother died of an overdose. It will be a year in just 2 days since he left us. My heart is broken. Oxycontin is what killed him. It started like so many others with back surgery and a prescription. That was years ago and it grew to a horrible addiction. He so wanted to break free from it and start to live his life again. But he lost his battle on 8/9/2017 RIP little brother

  12. Sheila Beltagy says:

    I am on both sides of the coin You see I have been having Surgeries since I was 5 to 6 year’s old and it has followed me into my late 50’s. The doctor’s broke both of my Leg’s and both Hip’s. I was in an cast trying to heal but the staff of the Nurses would always have a problem with picking me up and that’s when my Leg’s and Hip’s would break and it was a very tough trying time. So after 2 year’s they took off the cast from the waist down and that’s when I had to learn how to walk all over again and that was tough. Being at that age and at that time they would give me Pain Medication’s now and mind you those Medication’s back then we’re stronger than they are now in this time. Then by the time I was about 10 to 11 year’s old there I was again having more Surgeries and bare in mind that I have been on the Pain Medication’s still all this time and the doctor told my parents that they didn’t know if and when I can get off of this Medication’s okay Let’s skip to 1992 to the present time now. I have had 4 failed back surgeries and with 6-6 inch Bolt’s and 4-4 inch Rod’s placed in the middle of the lower back then at first I thought that the Pain was gone but after doing all the physical therapy and exercises and I really thought that the Pain Medication’s were gone also but after 13 month’s one of the Bolt’s broke so here we are going back into surgery and they had to take everything out and start from the beginning and yes in the mean time I was still taking the Pain Medication’s and still the doctor would say the same thing as before that I will recover and then No more Pain Medication’s. Now we are 11 month’s since the first replacement another one of the Bolt’s broke and this time here we go again with doing the same thing as before So now 12 month’s later back with the same thing happening again and this time Two of the Bolt’s bent so back into surgery we go and now the doctor is saying the same thing again with all the Physical Therapy treatment’s I should be able to get off these Medication’s and boy I was so very happy to hear the doctor say today is the day I can get off the Pain Medication’s but that didn’t last long at all because here we go again the forth back surgery and this time the surgery failed so with 4 back Surgeries which they all have Failed and with this situation since I was 5 year’s old. Now here I am with all the Surgeries that I had failed and all this time being on the Pain Medication’s and now the doctor is saying that I will be on this Pain Medication’s for the rest of my life. Now my point is that some of us need these Pain Medication’s to be able to have a life and if that means that I have to take the Medication’s then I will but all these people who are abusing These Medication’s are making the people who have to take those types of Medication’s in a situation where as the doctor’s are afraid of writing out scripts for these types of Medication’s and that’s where a lot of people who are in this type of situation that need the Medication’s to live a semi normal production existing life.and I still don’t understand why if you’re following the directions from the doctor it shouldn’t be a problem and we shouldn’t have to be made and/or forced to live in a lot of Pain because people are abusing These Medication’s. Thank you for letting me vent. Be Well and Safe

  13. Steve B. says:

    Tabernacle Baptist Church in South River also offers a program called Overcomers, for those struggling with addictions of any kind, and for their families and friends. Those interested may contact Pastor James Dynarski at 908-930-2592.

  14. LTM says:

    I totally agree. I have a granddaughter who is addicted to heroin. She has been through detox as well as rehab. The problem is that unless a person has fantastic health insurance to pay for a “Good rehab” the efforts seem fruitless. State programs don’t seem to be working. Perhaps because there is no follow-up after discharge. Oh sure, there are meetings but that seems to be about it and these people are right back in the same environment they came from. There is a place in Michigan that has a 99% success rate using anesthesia over a 3-day period then a 12-month non-narcotic medicine. Problem? $8,000.00 that NO insurance will pay for. Another in Florida that detoxes, rehabs, then half-way house. They are helped to get jobs and live on their own and be “drug free”. But once again…the cost $24,800.00. It’s a shame and I wish there were some solid answers out there to this problem. Thanks for letting me share and vent at the same time.

  15. Susan Long says:

    We need to find the sources and cut them out.
    We are putting a band aid on the problem. Heroin is a out of control epidemic!!!
    The drugs doctors supply are contributing. Its a mess and so many feel helpless.

  16. Audrey says:

    As the mother of a son that died from a heroin overdose 10/19/17
    I thank you for writing this and agree with you. I do have to say that the funeral director that took care of my son was wonderful and I am sure he sees this in Montgomery County Maryland all the time

    • All Managers says:

      It’s all over. All of our colleagues are seeing this, we just felt we had to put this out there. Prayers for you

  17. Alice says:

    I’m so sorry, Ursula. You will always carry your brother in your heart.

    I switched out of funeral cosmetology because of opiates. I used to work on old people who had lived full and natural lives and whose deaths were sad but not tragic. After the epidemic started I started preparing so many young people, even teenagers. I would look into a resplendent satin lined casket before a wake and see a man who was barely not a boy with strapping muscles still visible through his suit or a freckled young woman with a gorgeous head of black hair and my day would go dark. I got tired of crying in the car on my way home and got a different job. Blessings to you who have the courage to comfort families who have had their living hearts ripped out.

  18. Dr D Hage says:

    Thank you Peter. As an addiction specialist for over 25 yrs I have seen my share of death by addiction. Family grief. Broken lives and seize to exist. I have grieved with families, used Narcan on clients n attended many many funerals. Some at your place of business. I thank you for the care m compassion you have shown over the years. Unfortunately I see no end in site!!!!

    • All Managers says:

      Thank you, and thank you for all you do to help stop the addiction and for helping the families that are caught in the cross hairs.

  19. Edward A. Przybylko says:

    Peter ….WELL SAID…. It is about time that people open their eyes and look at reality . I grew up in the area and see the change every time I travel back. I see it all over the USA…. Wake up people it is time to hold all accountable from the MDs that offer meds way to easy to the pharmaceutical company’s that just look at the bottom line. These are our Friends, Kids , Our Future. Once again thank ,you are a man that cares above and beyond.
    THINK SAFE … BE SAFE …

  20. Ken Seeley says:

    It’s not only the drugs it is because drug treatment doesn’t work…. I have been sober since 1989 and the percentages of people getting sober after treatment has not changed since then. The only thing changing is the deaths increasing faster then we have ever seen before.. The missing link is education the families, look for signs of using and THEY have to do the work and change. Everyone thinks it’s the person using goes to treatment and that’s the answer. Well we see that isn’t working. The family system all needs to change. There are studies helping the family do the right thing raises the success rate 50%. We need to help the families change what they are doing to change these numbers that keep increasing.

    • All Managers says:

      Ken, we are happy to hear about your sobriety and for speaking out about the issue. You’re right, educating families is extremely important.

  21. BONITA says:

    I would like to first say, I can empathize with those who are facing or have lost a loved one to opiod addiction. My son was incarcerated as an addict trying to feed his habit through robbery. He was caught and spent a year in the pokey….having to experience withdrawal cold turkey. He said he didn’t want the “treatments” they offered him. He wanted to go through the pain so he would always remember what it was like to be an addict. He is now in drug court and is even going to college so he can help others escape the grip of this terrible scourge. As for me, I guess I never would have explored ways I could be of help in my community to fight this battle if it hadn’t happened to me and my family. Just a thought.

  22. Nora says:

    Praying for all of you that have suffered and are presently suffering. We need to have our children read this articles to educate them and scare the jeez out of them. Schools should be more involve in advocating the same. I pray for all of our kids and families and for the strength of our LORD within our children/families to say NO to drugs.

  23. Bill S says:

    Having seen first hand the results of what this does to friends and families, no amount of publicity bringing this issue to light is too much. Thanks Pete for sharing this story.

  24. Jerry says:

    Peter

    Kudos to you for giving words to the unspoken. I share your emotions and sentiment. I have visited your business too often and said goodby to too many young men. We have both lived in this town for years and I know several of these boys you have put to rest. Some were classmates of my children, some were in our cub scout pack, some were from in my own neighborhood. My soul, my heart and my being weeps when I have see a broken family, friends who have been shattered by this vile grunge.
    It is not just me and you, so many feel the pain of knowing this exists and occurs and wonder if they can help or what they can do.You can Walk with the Angels and learn what the wonderful organization “City of Angels” is doing to fight this problem. Support, Volunteer, Donate, learn to be a recovery coach. Even if you can not do any of that, Get your running and get support from local vendors to pledge a donation for you in the Sept 9th 5K run/walk at Mercer county park. Addiction is something that is not easy to say no to and every bit helps.
    The City of Angels is a wonderful group and provides all sort of help for all sorts of people, Insured or not. I urge everyone to log onto http://www.cityofangelsnj.org and see what these great people are doing to help those right in your backyard.
    Everyone needs to be aware of these demons and your blog has found alot of attention. Thank you for bringing this topic to point.

    Jerry M – East Brunswick

    • All Managers says:

      Thank you Jerry for sharing the link. Bringing attention to what we can do to help is of great importance.

  25. Gloria says:

    Thank you for speaking up about this monster. My sibling died of an overdose earlier this year. As a family, we are stunned, devastated, heartbroken, angry and confused. We fought like mad to get my sibling help, but the addiction and his dealers and pusher spouse won. Some of us put our lives on the line confronting those disgusting people to no avail. We were outnumbered not only by those who did not have my sibling’s best interest in mind but also by two monsters known as addiction and mental illness — they go hand in hand. I will never get over the death of my sibling and the events that led to an untimely death. We begged many people in positions of power (hospitals, police, social workers, nurses etc.) to help us and we were dismissed at every turn and told the same old line that I can guarantee countless families have heard, “Your sibling is an adult, adults can make their own choices.” As family members we were left out in the cold, our hands tied, our concerns ignored. So as I type this, the dealers and pusher, who I blame for my sibling’s death, are free. Living it up! They got away with what I call murder since my sibling’s death was ruled “accidental”. It was no accident. Not in our eyes. It is time to go after pushers who share their prescription medications, and the dealers who are selling God knows what on the streets. It’s time to start handing out hefty sentences to those people. They’re getting away with murder. But as long as many overdose deaths continue to be ruled “accidental” business for those causing this madness on the streets, will continue to boom.

    • All Managers says:

      Gloria, thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Our prayers are with you and your family.

  26. KP says:

    Thank you for speaking up!
    My family struggled with this for years with my 24 year old son, It is a sickness that will tear your family apart, that will have someone stealing, cheating ,arrests and lying to you. I ended up putting him out of my house after multiple stints of rehab, getting clean, getting messed up again over and over. It was a never ending cycle. I had to do it because, in my heart, I knew that one day I would wake up walk in his bedroom and find him dead! I also needed to show him that if continued that path one day he was going to die over this drug! Once homeless, he got himself in a rehab out of state and has been clean going on 3 years. I do agree more has to be done!

    So many people that I know have died over this. It breaks my heart that it is killing our kids, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers! My son is in a struggle every day. I pray everyday for him and for all families that are going through this! God Bless.

  27. Wanderer says:

    This is a scourge that has leveraged modern manufacturing, communication, and fulfillment technology to make wholesale addiction and death. It is maintained by the greed of the providers and the discouragement, and despair of the victims.

  28. Stu says:

    Just the volume (and passion) of the replies to your blog drives home your point. When will society at large realize that this can happen to ANYONE AT ANY TIME. Bravo Peter for your compassion, candor and bluntness.

  29. Raegina says:

    More needs to be done in regards to healthcare. The “30” day rehab they’ll cover isn’t long enough. Some only cover a couple of weeks!! This is wrong in so many ways! 90 days to 6 months Would be a much better plan. I don’t have the answers but I think this would be a good start. Prayers to those who’ve suffered a loss and prayers to those who are now clean!!

  30. Marie says:

    This has become a pandemic and needs to be addressed with awareness, affordable treatment and medication, not with criticism and incarceration.

  31. Robert H. Grover says:

    Well said Pete! You are one of the top respected men in this area and we believe you could be the best man to lead this crusade against this horrible monster. A committee or corrective action team should be started to gather up these people in need and help them through love, understanding and education.

  32. Mike Mercer says:

    Thank you Peter. We lost two sons from heroin. We experienced way too much of what this disorder brings. For mom’s, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, children and friends. I do not have an answer to the pain this problem causes. What helped me grieve was to continue educating oneself as to what this chemical does to a healthy brain. I have trouble calling addiction a disease. I find it more to cause a disorder. Drive through rehabilitation does not work. Such a waste. I pray to find a way.

    • All Managers says:

      Mike, I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story and what helped you to grieve a little easier.

  33. KATHLEEN P JORDAN says:

    Bravo! Sometimes strong language is necessary to get the attention a subject deserves. I know first hand as I lost someone I loved to addiction. I applaud your bravery for plain ole telling it like it is! God Bless you and I hope this helps people wake up and see the epidemic plaguing our country!

  34. Roger & Connie Pucillo says:

    Thank you Pete ..our John is now gone 3 years..we dealt with his addiction for 25 years and he tried so hard to get the upper hand but ultimately lost the battle..you were there for us Pete and we will never forget you for that..keep up your battle and we hope all people near this affliction educate themselves and become aware of the telltale signs and have a plan

    • All Managers says:

      And we are still here for you if you need anything. Education and Awareness, two key factors in this fight.

  35. Rabbi Eli B. Perlman says:

    I want to thank Peter for authoring this blog. It is so important.

    Unless society admits that the problem exists, it will never be solved. There is much focus being put on it today, but until we all internalize how severe the problem is, it will be difficult to get to a workable solution.

    As a rabbi, if I had only dealt with this one time, it would have been too many, but it is more like once or twice every couple of months. One of the reasons this problem is not more visible is that sometimes, I do not find out that the person overdosed until after the funeral. What that means is that, too often, the official cause of death is listed as something other than being drug related. While that may comfort the mourners for a few hours or days, they know the truth and cannot escape that the pain of that knowledge.

    Underreporting the drug overdoses actually minimizes this problem which is much worse that any of us can prove. We need to be honest and to face this head-on in order to get the proper focus, social pressure, and investment required to solve it.

    In closing, my heart bleeds for those who live with the pain of loss caused by this horrible scourge. While we cannot reverse history, may we all come together to redirect the path to the future.

  36. Denise says:

    My son died on May 13, 2017 of an overdose of heroin that was laced with fentanyl codeine. He went to rehab. for 7 weeks before this happened. Had an insert to block the opioid. It was due to be changed within the next week or two. He was home from rehab. for about a month and as we all thought, but I didn’t live with him. He was living with his wife whom is a registered nurse and children was doing well. I was with him the day before he died. I was with him within the last 2 weeks before his death many times. He seem to be ok. As I read, and read, and read about addicts the struggle is for their life time. I miss my son so much. He was such a wonderful son. He was my sonshine. How does one broken mother ever get over this? Question? living with an addict or knowing an addict, should we all have had Narcan? One would think so…. What hurts also is that my son had this struggle and no where to turn, instead hide it. My heart is broken apart, I miss him so much. I keep thinking to myself, what was it that I should have or could have done for my son. The vision in my head is him dead on the floor. From a broken mother.

    • All Managers says:

      I’m sorry for your loss Tammy. You are right, it is going to take all of us coming together to stop the nightmare. Our prayers are with you.

  37. Karen says:

    Thank you for your support about the opioid epidemic. I am the mother of an addict in recovery. She started with prescription drugs. Only by the Grace of God I did not have to bury my child. My heart breaks for all the families who have lost their loved ones.

  38. Dawn says:

    Pete, would you like to organize a town meeting? I’m actually from Milltown and would love to get involved and explore one of these Angels programs. Would be great if some knowledgeable police officers and addiction counselors could join community members.

    • All Managers says:

      Dawn-we’re exploring a number of ideas. If someone has something organized, I’d be happy to speak from where I sit. As we develop our own ideas here we’ll put it out there.

  39. Debbie Evennou (Evennou Family) says:

    Thank you so much Peter for speaking out about this devastating epidemic. You and your caring staff did a wonderful job of displaying all of my son’s accomplishments in his much too short life. How could this happen, he was such a good kid!!! For all of you out there who have had this horrific experience and feel the overwhelming grief and loss from this evil monster, please join me at “A Safe Place” on Thursday, September 7, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at the Immaculate Conception Rectory, 18 South Street, Spotswood, N.J. facilitated by Pastor Monsignor Joseph Curry and Mrs. Marianne Majewski LLSW. I have already attended one of these meetings and was inspired just to know you are not alone, there are others out there that feel your pain.

    • All Managers says:

      To be clear, “A Safe Place” is open to ALL, you don’t have to be a member of Immaculate Conception.

  40. Maria says:

    Your powerful message has made it here to Melbourne, Australia. Thanks for keeping this problem highlighted in the media, knowledge and education is the only way out.

  41. Bree says:

    It’s not just happening in the US, this is also happening in Australia and is getting worse and worse as time goes on. I know this as I was addicted to opioids. It all started after giving birth, having a c section and having problems with my back. The doctor was prescribing boxes and boxes of morphine to me to relieve the pain. I found myself needing more and more of this stuff to even function. This then spiralled out of control and I was not only getting this from the doctors office, but also off the street. It nearly ruined my life. My family stepped in and luckily I am 100% better and clean now. The victim really does go through hell and back to get off these horrible opioids. There needs to be more awareness on the issue and more regulations. Not just in the US but in other countries also!

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