August 31st is National Overdose Awareness Day. Did you know over 70,000 individuals passed away due to a drug overdose in 2019? Soberman’s Estate founder, Mitch Prager, opened Soberman’s Estate in honor of his brother Jeff Prager, and his best friend Jerry Josen. Jeff passed away of an overdose in 2010.
About 10% of the U.S. Population (that’s 32,820,000 individuals) has a Drug Use Disorder, and an estimated ¾ of individuals go untreated. Knowing that so many people are struggling, and not seeking or receiving the treatment they need, how can we help prevent overdose? One of the most important ways we can help is learn and share educational resources in order to reduce stigma, and save lives.
Communicating With an Individual Who Has a Substance Use Disorder
Engaging in conversation about addiction with somebody who has a Substance Use Disorder is a delicate balance of loving-kindness and boundary-drawing. Tips to remember include:
Avoid labels such as “addict.” Instead, acknowledge the person as a human being with a Substance Use Disorder. This affirms that you acknowledge their humanity, as opposed to seeing them as exclusively defined by their disease.
Like diabetes, though individuals with addiction are not responsible for having the disease, they are responsible for seeking treatment.
Ask How to Help
Saying things such as “I care about you. How can I support you in this time?” can let the individual know you are on their team, and can reduce their fear of judgement.
Suggesting treatment strategies, such as counseling or rehab, is okay. Offering to go to appointments with them or support them similarly is okay. However, no individual can be forced into healing before they are ready.
Spell out what you will and will not tolerate, and follow through in your actions. It is possible to love and care for someone without enabling their behavior. It is good to verbally share your unconditional love and personal boundaries in the same conversation. This can be one of the most difficult hurtles for loved ones of individuals with addiction.
Signs and Responses for Different Types of Overdoses
Click on the links below to learn about signs and responses for different substance overdoses.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about overdose prevention. #endoverdose