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.