The month of March brings us many things. The end of winter, hope of Spring and the warmth and rebirth of of our planet. My oldest son Jeff’s birthday is today, my oldest daughter Jennifer’s is at the end of the month, mine arrives with spring on the 20th so we have much to celebrate, but this month also brings the reminder and the anniversary (I always find it weird to use that word in conjunction with something catastrophic) of my son Spencer’s death March 10th from a prescription drug overdose. This is the time that blisters my brain and widens the continuous hole in my heart. I write this not looking for sympathy, but in part because it is cathartic for me and in part simply wondering what this country is going to do about this unbelievably burgeoning problem. The increase in opioid overdose deaths has been dramatic, and opioids were responsible for 49,000 of the 72,000 drug overdose deaths overall in the US in 2017. Compare that to traffic deaths: For the second consecutive year more than 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2017. Heart attacks are much more deadly, but the variables in life differ so much from person to person. About 630,000 Americans die from heart disease each year. Diet, heredity, smoking, lifestyle, indifference or even ignorance. All at least somewhat identifiable. Opioids are simply prescribed and then ingested, willingly for the purpose of pain relief or some other medical need until they become the need themselves. I saw this today and it simply made me sad: The number of deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide in 2017 hit the highest level since federal data collection started in 1999. I also saw a piece in the Trib. this morning about a brave family from Hinsdale, the Stefani’s, who lost their son Matt, just a month and half after we lost Spencer. I believe Spence knew Matt. They both went to Hinsdale Central although I don’t know the Stefani’s, I admire their bravery and concern in going forward and speaking about this tragedy to help others. I have tried to do the same, but it is difficult, yet the thought of helping just one family ovoid the horror of the loss of a child or other family member spurs us all on. Click here for Kimberly Fornek’s article on the Stefani’s
Feel free to reach out to any of your elected representatives and express a desire to have this rich, insightful, self-indulgent country do something about this crazed and growing problem. Actually take it seriously!! And while your at it ask your doctor about too.