Delayed grief. Over the years, I’ve seen so much of it in working with clients.
It’s now hitting home…Moi. My own sorrow is emerging while working in the trenches with our nation’s deadliest drug epidemic ever. A few days a week, I consult at a local outpatient facility that specializes in drug addiction and mental health services. One of my clients in his early 30’s, has lost over 10 friends from fatal overdoses over the past four months. Four of them, I worked with directly. Even the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office can’t keep up.
Opioid and other prescription drug abuse isn’t just taking out our young people by the droves. Nearly 14,000 people age 45+ died from an opioid overdose in 2015–42% of all such deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The actual number is probably much higher. Overdoses in older people are often mislabeled as heart failure, a respiratory issue or linked to a fall.
So how did we get here? Over-prescription. In 2012, 259 million opioid prescriptions were written by their physicians. This translates to one script for every adult in the U.S. Who are the new drug dealers? Older Americans are now selling their painkillers to drug dealers to raise needed cash.
Well, if you’re still reading this blog, I give you credit. I’m not trying to depress or scare you, really. It’s what’s happening.
My clients who died were good people. They were gentle and beautiful men and women who got lost in their addictive disease. I choose to remember them in their happiest sober days at the clinic. And I shed tears because I was blessed to know each one of them. Their lives did matter.
Perhaps, you or a loved one, have also been impacted by the family disease of addiction. Help is available for all family members and concerned friends. Your recovery can make a difference.