Saturday, March 12, 2016

#SOL16 Heroin in America: A Personal Story


"Mary, you're brother is dead. He overdosed."

Those were words I had been waiting to hear but was hoping I would never hear. Kevin, my younger brother, passed away Friday, January 4th, 2013. It's a day I will always remember.

I'm watching Friday's 20/20 episode about Heroin in America and it is heartbreaking. I find it interesting that according to 20/20 129 people die every day from drug overdoses and more specifically prescription pills and heroin.

It is hard to watch but these stories need to be told.  I listened to a father relay the story of when he received the news that his son had overdosed again, but did not make it.  It was reliving that awful day.

My first reaction when my dad called to tell me was to not believe him. I wanted to know what hospital Kevin was at so I could go visit him.  Even when I saw him on the gurney at the funeral home, in the back of my mind I kept thinking he would just sit up.  It never seemed real.

I have shared bits and pieces of Kevin's story before, and I keep coming back to it because I truly feel that it can help save someone or multiple someones.  Kevin had a promising future despite many obstacles he faced and was able to overcome, yet he gave in and succumbed to a drug addiction. He was a semester away from graduating with a degree in sociology and had the capacity to help so many people.

My main reason for sharing this is because addiction in this country needs to be seen and treated as a mental illness.  And mental illness needs to be treated just as much as a heart condition or any other disease.  We should not feel embarrassed because someone in our family is an addict or has a mental illness.  I will not be embarrassed and will keep telling Kevin's story in hopes that it can save someone's life. I couldn't save my brother's life, but I'm hoping this story can make a difference and save someone else's life.

I love you Kevin and miss you every day!


4 comments:

  1. Hold on to that hope and love, and keep retelling the story. I believe it will make a difference for someone. Kevin had a great smile.

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  2. Thanks for sharing and remembering your brother. Addiction is an insidious disease that tears family apart. Like you I believe we should have more compassion. Addiction has no boundaries.

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  3. Thank you for sharing. We need to share more and come out of the darkness of shame when it comes to mental health and addiction.

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  4. Thank you for sharing. We need to share more and come out of the darkness of shame when it comes to mental health and addiction.

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