As opioid addiction rises, City Of Angels fights
Last Friday night, while on vacation, I received a text from my friend Kevin Meara who founded City Of Angels which helps addicts and their families deal with and fight addiction. The Mearas lost their son Casey to addiction 10 years ago. This weekend City of Angels is holding a "Rockfest" at Mercer County Park, among the performers- former E Street Band drummer Vinnie "Mad Dog" Lopez.
The text simply read, "Welcome back! I'm sitting in Robert Wood Johnson emergency room with a mom who's son could use some prayers." I can't tell you how many times Kevin's been on my show and when we break, he's on the phone personally counseling addicts and their families. The fact that he was in the emergency room on Labor Day weekend did not surprise me. The next morning I saw Kevin bear his soul on Facebook.
"Spent tonight in local hospital ER/ICU with a COA mom, whose son is clinging to life after an overdose. First and foremost...praying for a miracle which has been so hard to come by lately and the strength for mom to endure all that is before her. So much running through my mind as the hours passed, while watching friends and family rally around mom offering words of encouragement and faith. One year ago to the day, standing in this same ER at the same hour as they pronounced Pop. I remember ten years back, when in this same ER, the head nurse informing me that the ER doctor would not treat our young woman because “she was an addict” he had see before. During a trip to the parking lot, while glancing back at the ER, I wondered why this disease is treated in the hospital only after it has run its course and not at the onset, like every other disease? Why, why after ten years...hmmmmmmm, well the simple fact is that ten years after KC, these kids should not be dying! Ten years later, we should have made strides. Where are the resources? When will we have a recovery center? Where is the mental health support...can the brain really be fixed? When will the county Crisis Center allow detox for all and lift the “homicidal or suicidal” mantra? When will we get 72-hour mandatory hold after a Narcan reversal? Is a ten-month educational curriculum for our youth beyond reach? It’s now time for us to dig down deep and do more, as all of this is preventable. More to reflect on later! Pushing off sleep as I must admit I’m a bit afraid for what I’m going to wake up to......"
Fortunately, this person did survive, but we're now up to 8 lives a day being lost to addiction in New Jersey. Where do we go from here? For Kevin, back to the drawing board, and a ringing cell phone. We pray one day that it stops ringing.
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