I had the opportunity to talk with Eliza Wheeler from Harm Reduction Coalition about the conversation I never knew to have with my son Brendon, about naloxone.
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a drug that reverses overdose. Eliza is the manager of the DOPE Project (Drug Overdose Prevention Education) and she shared several insights on naloxone, it’s use in preventing overdose, and some of the laws surrounding it.
It is amazing to me how many younger people have lost multiple friends and loved ones to overdose. Eliza shared that part of her reason as to why she is involved with harm reduction is because of how many people she has personally lost to overdose. Overdose can be prevented and having a conversation is where it starts.
Eliza and I discussed the option of having a conversation about preventing overdose with someone who is struggling with addiction. I know the only thing I focused on when Brendon was alive was 100% absolute abstinence. There is an entirely different conversation surrounding addiction and addiction treatment, however, in the process of recovery to abstinence, naloxone would give people the opportunity to have yet another chance to try again.
When it is over, there are no second chances. I would rather have thousands of more chances. Hind site is fore site. The demands I put in place with Brendon were black and white -there was no middle ground. These demands (questionably unrealistic) set him up to hide the truths of his struggle. Perhaps if I had the conversation about overdose prevention, and empowered him to navigate the road of recovery, naloxone may have changed things drastically for us.
I encourage you to share this message with any one you may know. I can tell you, families struggling with these issues are not bringing these conversations readily into the forefront. There is so much shame and blame, and an unacceptable stigma when it comes to drugs. The truth is our kids are dying – and it is a pandemic. Sharing this message may save a life.
If you have had a conversation about overdose prevention with your loved one, please share what’s helped you. Your comments can help others.