While much of the news in the world continues to be on the incredible amount of COVID deaths whose number sadly keeps on increasing (close to 5 million worldwide as of the time of me writing this), there’s another fatality rate rapidly rising as well, and that’s drug overdoses.
While nowhere close to the staggering tally of COVID deaths in such a short period of time, the amount of drug overdose deaths in our country has been increasing by 20 percent every year. Last year close to 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, which sadly, deaths like theirs often get overlooked. But, drug addicts lives do matter just as much as COVID lives matter.
Many tend to think that drug addicts are hopeless beings not worth the effort saving. I’ve even heard some say “good riddance” when the news has reported on another drug overdose death. What the news doesn’t tell you is how many times these deaths aren’t from chronic drug users. Many are just people who picked up some drug for the first time, like during this pandemic to cope with all the quarantining and isolation it has brought. And as drugs have been getting laced more and more with lord knows what these days, people are dying at rapid rates.
A few weeks ago, for example, a tainted drug shipment was seized in California of a close derivate of fentanyl, where each dose was discovered to be lethal. If it had been released into the US population, it would have killed close to 50 million individuals. Then there’s the sad statistic of a girl I met recently at a detox I volunteer at weekly in my area who told me that 47 of her graduating class of 84 people have already died from drug overdoses!
Some might say that her classmates’ deaths could have been prevented far more easily than COVID deaths. Being in recovery from the same addiction, when I was once deep in this disease, I had very little control if any at all over my substance abuse. My brain always made it feel like I had no choice but to keep on doing the addiction. When I was in that place, I couldn’t stop no matter how hard I tried. I also felt like I didn’t matter through most of it and many made sure to tell me that during that period, rather than ever offer me any love. The irony though is that what ended my life of addiction wasn’t me finding control over it, it was others loving me and reminding me I did matter.
Nevertheless, while vaccinating, mask wearing, and hopefully herd immunity will end this COVID pandemic at some point in the near future, the drug epidemic is only going to keep increasing so long as we keep on ignoring all the deaths coming from it. Since 1999, 1 million U.S. citizens have died from drug overdoses where each of those lives mattered. I do my part every week now to remind those struggling from this disease that they do matter to me and that I love them, as that truly was the only thing that helped me to ever find salvation from this disease.
At some point, the death toll from drug use is going to surpass that of COVID. One day it’s probably going to become front page news when some toxic batch of drugs gets released into the masses and kills in the tens of millions or more. I honestly wish we would all start placing more focus on helping those struggling with this disease, by providing the one vaccination drug users most need, which is one of love and light, something they are often devoid of. It will help make a huge difference in this drug epidemic, as I’m living proof of that.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson