Medical Marijuana

Overdose Awareness Day Needs Awareness

Just how big is the overdose problem? It’s massive. Killing more Americans than AIDS at the height of the crisis, car accidents, and guns. Daily bodies pile up leaving families in grief and loss and often times with orphaned children. The ripple effect isn’t fully known but it isn’t pretty. On the campaign trail, Trump sounded sincere and made promises to slay the beast. To date, that’s fallen short. Trumps opiate task force made some very lackluster, generic, suggestions, the health policy equivalent of cold oatmeal. Trump, didn’t even follow through with the suggestions of his own task force. He did offer this wisdom “tell kids: drugs, no good, very bad”. A few days after that solution, Trump said the opiate crisis would be declared a national emergency. That seems to have sputtered to the side of the road and died, nothing happened.

August 31st is “international overdose awareness day”. That likely comes as a surprise to many because there is a lack of awareness about the lack of awareness. Compare the response to overdose to other health conditions, take breast cancer. High Sobriety means in no way to diminish the need for care with breast cancer but the response to breast cancer is immense. The NFL wears pink, slogans abound, Central Park in NYC is awash with folks wearing pink bras to show support and raise funds for research. Overdose? Effectively crickets.

I’m full of flaws, I have a low batting average for much of life but one area where I do seem to excel is gaining attention for drug policy. I have written extensively for major publications, had countless interviews and TV appearances to comment on drug policy. To date, nobody has booked me to speak on overdose awareness day. Keep in mind America endures 33,000 overdose deaths annually, what could possibly be spoken about? I have reached out to every producer I know and there seems to be no interest.

Every overdose death is preventable. Harm reduction will reduce the numbers of fatalities and engage more and more people in recovery. To date, most think of harm reduction as giving in or enabling. It’s neither but it is life saving. The overdose problem is not something that can be solved by a day of awareness, of which, the media pays no attention. If we are going to shift this problem from a body count to improvement, the dialogue must start. We must educate the general public about various pathways to recovery and what can be done. “Drugs, bad, very bad, no good” while inspiring, just won’t do the trick.

Author: Joe Schrank, Editor-in-Chief