The Numbers Don’t Lie
The statistics are grim these days. In the first 3 months of 2015 there were 217 heroin overdoses. The number of deaths due to overdose (the articles says unintentional overdose but I refuse to support that statement because you risk overdose every single time you use which means you intentionally take the drug) 33% increase from 2012. And that isn’t all….
I started this blog in October of 2014. Since then my family has had 3 relapse, 2 detoxes, 1 court-sectioned stay at WATC. The blog itself has had 54 posts. The most viewed post would be the home page at 8929. Total views on the page as of this writing was 19091 with the all-time best day being 597 views in one day. There are 321 followers; it was shared 92 times on Facebook. I have had 141 comments. There have been 6285 direct links from the blog to Facebook (meaning someone came to view the blog from a Facebook link), it was googled 642 times. The most viewed blog post was Friends, Treatment and the Unknown, 421 views. The least viewed was Sibling Love which is really sad because it only had 44 views and even my cat beat that with How I Met Your Cat? Got 99 views.
The most viewed picture was this one:
The least viewed picture was this one:
Poor AC- I think he looks cute!
I have had three friends of JoDee’s from high school reach out to me, either to say they didn’t understand addiction and thank me for the blog, or to say they are addicts and need help. I have had five parents from our town reach out to me to say that their children are addicts, but they didn’t have the courage to tell anyone. I have been to countless support groups, 12 months’ worth of N/A meetings (I definitely did my 90 in 90 and then some!) and I know 4 people, personally, that died from drug addiction in the last year- and many more acquatenances.
I know many friends JoDee lost due to her addiction, I know a few friends I have lost due to JoDee’s addiction, and I know of at least one person that said both JoDee and I were crazy – using the blog as an example. And this is the exact number of shits I give for any of those: 0.
Here are a few things I do give a shit about:
A study done in 2011 showed that 75% of all high school students have used addictive substances and 1 of every 5 meets the medical criteria for addition. I can’t imagine what it is now 4 years later.
Teen substance abuse is particularly devastating because using drugs while the brain is still developing dramatically hikes the risk of addiction and other consequences.
The US represents only 5% of the world population but our prescription drug use is 75%.
About 50% of high school seniors do not think it is harmful to try crack or cocaine once or twice and 40% believe it is not harmful to use heroin once or twice.
According to an article from the Boston Globe, civil commitments (Section 35) grew by 67 percent in the last 8 years. And the number of licensed treatment beds varies from year to year. There is not enough funding to support the upkeep and salaries for staff to keep beds in circulation.
It seems to me there is a giant issue when it is much easier to buy drugs on the street than it is to find a bed to start recovery. And I understand that part of the issue is that addicts that have no intention to get clean but want to avoid jail time or just need to get out of the cold will take spots for those that have the desire to start to recover. However, I have learned enough about drug use, and recovery, to know that if you say the message long enough, if you keep repeating it, eventually it will sink in. Or they will die. I don’t see those that are just “place-holding” as a bad thing. Sometimes, they find out that there is something there worth hearing.
Another reason that addicts can’t get the help they need is because it is seen as a moral short-coming, something I have mentioned on this blog. Choice vs Disease. Something I have also said is that shouldn’t matter. Whether or not the first time someone picked up was a decided choice or a victim of circumstance, the end result is the same. Addiction is a disease. It is mentally and physically handicapping and without proper treatment, it will only get worse, just like any other disease. The amount of the daily bed rate has gone up recently from $75 to $82 per day per bed. That is an extremely low figuring considering the variables that go into that. Just the normal overhead it takes to run any business, non-profit or otherwise, would surpass that amount. To me, my addict is invaluable. I cannot put a price tag on her head, but the state does, it says she is only worth $82 a day. And that is only for state-funded beds. My insurance company says she is worth $0.00 because they won’t pay for inpatient stay. As of Oct 1 of this year, it is my understanding that there will be ne legislature that requires that health insurance companies pay for at least a 14-day inpatient stay following a standard medical detox hospitalization. I wonder how many people will know that, and will be able to take advantage of it. Let us not forget that there are fewer inpatient beds than detoxes and for those that have state health insurance, those beds usually don’t turn over for 30-40 days depending on the length of stay. The situation is grim, and like everything else, it may get worse before it gets better.
I watched Where Are They Now- Oprah Winfrey, the other night. It is a show on the O network that goes back to high profile shows that Oprah did. There was a family she had on several years ago- four out of the five family members were heroin addicts. The only one that was not a heroin addict was the 17-month old baby. Both parents, and both teen age boys, addicts. Actively using. Caring for that poor baby. Oprah offered the entire family help. They all went to separate rehabs. The mom went to a rehab that supported mother and children. The dad did great, as did one of the boys. The mother got into an altercation with someone in the rehab (her rehab was in New York) so DCF took they baby away. He was placed in foster care. The dad left the sober living housing he was doing so well in to go be with the mom in NY while she tried to figure out how to get the baby back. In the end, with one son in jail, one son doing well in rehab, and the both parents homeless in NY, the parents made the heart breaking decision to give the son up for adoption. A wonderful family had fostered the baby, loved him and was willing to keep him. They allowed the parents to have visits with him so they could maintain a relationship. Shortly after the adoption was final, the mother died of a heroin overdose, leaving an extremely distraught father alone and homeless in NY. She was 39 years old. Exactly the same age I am. It was absolutely gut wrenching to watch the destruction of this family. For something so senseless. I felt relieved for the baby that he had a chance at a better life, and hollow for the mother knowing she had to give her son up. I can’t even imagine what brought an entire family to heroin. During the original aired show, the mother said they use to be normal. Have dinner together; go to the hair salon, nail salon, out for dinner. At that time, they were days away from eviction because the bank had foreclosed on their house.
As a mother, as a partner to AC, as a human being who has compassion for others, I hate these stories. I hate all stories that end in the death of a person to drugs. There has to be a better way.
Here are a few numbers to close with:
0 is the number of people who should die from overdose
1 is the number of times using it takes to become addicted to heroin
24 is the number of hours I worry about whether my addict will die or not
365 is the number of days she needs to go to a meeting
137 is the number of days she has been clean.
9 until my middle son turns 18- a very scary number for this mother.