Bringing Drug Addiction to Light

Some feel that the subject of drug addiction should be reserved for the family closet next to the other skeletons, while others choose to wear it on their forehead.

Some feel that the subject of drug addiction should be reserved for the family closet next to the other skeletons, while others choose to wear it on their forehead.

Recently, a friend of mine lost a niece to a heroin overdose. The family was front and center about what had happened. From the opening paragraph of the woman’s obituary, to the purple addiction awareness ribbons at the memorial service, there was no doubt what had killed the woman.

I commend the family for bringing this to light. If one person is turned from certain death to recovery because of her story, then her passing was not in vain.

Although wakes are never fun to attend, I was especially uncomfortable at this one. There was the adolescent daughter who was left behind, as well as the parents of the deceased.

In cases like this, saying “I’m sorry” just doesn’t seem sufficient. You might as well throw an “At least her suffering is over” and a “She’s in a better place now” in there, but nothing’s going to take the family’s hurt away.

I also realized that, on a different path, it could have been my memorial service. I liked my hydrocodone far more that I should have, and succumbing to the needle may have been the way it ended were it not for a loving wife who cared for me enough to never let that happen. I am truly blessed.

There are times when I wonder if I’ve ever contributed to a fatal, self-inflicted overdose. Whether it’s from someone feeling pill-happy or from the “insulin” syringes I sell 10 at a time for cash on the spot, I think about whether my initials were on the bottle or whether I grabbed that bag of needles.

Addiction is awful, and over time as a species, humans have become very good at designing social lubricants and becoming dependent on them.

Pleasure is a highly sought-after commodity. Some have paid for it with their lives, sometimes taking a few individuals with them. Collateral damage is something that the addict rarely sees unless he or she is fortunate enough to get into recovery.

Frank Sinatra was noted to have too few regrets to mention, and I wish I did, too. At least 3 times a day, however, I make myself laugh uncomfortably in thinking about past transgressions.

I don’t think there wasn’t a relationship that I didn’t strain. Thankfully, there are amends and forgiveness, and I lived long enough to see them.

Others weren’t so fortunate. They died with their addictions in full swing, blind to what was happening around them.

A family that brings this to light is a group of heroes in my book. It gives their pain a chance to become someone else’s redemption.

I would like to think that there’s a measure of closure in that.

Jay Sochoka, RPh, hates drug addiction.