By Jenna Lynn Bonstein, Preventionist I
In 2018, the number of people dying of an accidental overdose are rising at a rapid rate. In the United States, we lose 174 people a day to an accidental overdose. That is 174 daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, grandsons, granddaughters, cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends that we have to find a way to mourn and live without every day. This is killing more people than AIDS/HIV epidemic outbreak in the 80’s. “Just say no” didn’t work.
The stigma has kept people stuck, sick and not asking for help. We want change, but not just one person can do anything when it comes to a monster this big. We need to come together and fight this battle like an army going to war.
On August 30th, South Amboy put on a FEDUP rally and Overdose Awareness event at the South Amboy Middle School that brought law enforcement, educators, parents, health care providers, and community members together in remembering loved ones that were taken from this disease. This event was moving and being there reminded us that we are apart a family, regardless of our relations with one another – addiction has stolen someone we loved.
Two powerful and strong women spoke about losing their child to an accidental overdose. They spoke with resilience, grace and love when they spoke about the accomplishments their child had reached in life before drugs and life in recovery. Their child was not supposed to die this way, they were basketball players, soccer players and devoted hard workers in family businesses. This tragic and unfathomable experience has forever changed their life. However, even though their child cannot share his or her story, the mothers make it an obligation to share their stories and keep their memory alive.
Kim Seber, founder of Roots to Addiction acknowledge the Mayor for his proactive approaches in the South Amboy community. Kim acknowledged many other people who this ceremony would not be possible without.
Lastly, there were four speakers who shared their experience, strength and hope to the audience. There was a mixture of tears, laughter and applaud throughout the night. Each captivated speaker boldly shared the struggles they faced and currently still face along with the ability to overcome many obstacles and determination to stay sober and fight this battle every day. One speaker said, “There is struggles every day, but sobriety is everything to me”. She had every odd against her, but by staying on the path of recovery she got her children back, apartment back and is pursuing a degree in drug counseling as she is working as an Intern at a treatment center.