Articles, Blog

Temple faculty, staff, alumni fight opioid epidemic in Philadelphia

December 23, 2019

[piano] My initial foray into the dark side– Um, I was about 14, 15. That first experience, I fell in love, you know, it was like someone took a hot blanket and wrapped me up in it. Off to the races for a few years. But I was able to keep it underground, because I still excelled in school and, you know, I didn’t steal. Nobody really knew except a very select group
of people. Opioid use disorder is fairly common. It was something, prior to all the recent
hype, was certainly an issue and was there, obviously not to the degree that it is now, but it’s been something that’s been a bit
of a public health crisis for a while, um, that was flying under the radar a little
bit. Patients really need to be in a good position in their life before they are ready to go
get help. It’s not an easy road trying to get people
into recovery. You know, it’s very, uh, shameful and demeaning to get hooked on heroin. I found out very quickly it’s easy to get
hooked but hard to get off. We just keep missing the boat in terms of
availability of treatment for all this stuff, and so if you don’t get– if you can’t get it, why change behavior? You want to at least have, uh, have that hope, yeah. In the United States currently, right now, about 91 people a day die from an overdose. If you sort of narrow it down to our Philadelphia community, we see three a day. We do bring people off of the street and into our building who were previously walking around intoxicated, sometimes using out in the community. We’ve brought them in to offer them services, so we’ve had detractors, or people that didn’t like what we do come in and thank us because we ended up helping a family member or a friend. If someone’s looking for help, and they’re looking for treatment, that’s what we’re here for, and, you know, for patients who, honestly, have struggled with opioid use disorders and substance use disorders, some of the problem is they have been written
off, and they don’t have people going to bat with
them. So part of the rule of doing this is not only being there and being there to provide the
service, but being there, you know, for the full court. Now, I’m just glad that when I wake up in the morning, the hardest choice is for me is what I’m going to have for breakfast. An addict feels as though they’re by themselves and no one gives a you-know-what. But that’s not true. That caring piece. That sincerity– somethin’ different.

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