A Rant About Demographics and Complacency

The drug overdose epidemic has hit the eastern part of these United States much harder than here in sunny Southern California. More kids die per capita in the Northeast than all of the kids West of the Mississippi. The map doesn’t lie.

But still.

In Los Angeles, it feels like the drug overdose epidemic has reached pandemic proportions. Our family has lost 10 (that’s 10) young adults we’ve known and loved to addiction in the past 3 years. Gone.

Everywhere I look–in my neighborhood, at work, in classes, in book groups, in the grocery store—parents are whispering about, and trying to come to grips with their kids’ struggles with substance abuse…yet…why are we not coming together to fight the epidemic like our neighbors to the east? Why are we not joining the Partnership for Drug Free Kids, joining Facebook support groups, combining forces to end the stigma of addiction? There’s so much to do, yet so little time.

In my experience few parents, if given the choice, choose to sit down and learn about addiction before their kids are lost in the throes of it.  The subject is too close to home. Too hard to hear.  Too much to bear…

But what if that opportunity- to listen and learn and tap into our own kids’ struggles- were offered now? Before the ripples become tsunamis?

…what if learning to empathize and express love to our kids provides the all-important family connection they don’t even know they seek? What if a moment or a hug or a text makes the difference between life and death? In a book called S.O.B.E.R. by Anita and Mike Devlin, exactly that happens. The adult child was lost in his addiction, hopeless and on the brink of ending his life.  Then, randomly, he receives a text from his mother saying she loves him. She moved beyond her fear and rage to express her fierce maternal love. And that expression saved his life. Mike did not become a statistic.

Must we wait to join the conversation until the whispers of tormented parents become screams? Until the screams become ours?

It’s time to learn how to rekindle strained relationships with our own kids before the epidemic sweeps through our western states.

This is no time for complacency.  This is time for conversation. No shame. No Judgment. Our children are ALIVE. They yearn for our love. We can keep the number of California drug overdose deaths to a minimum if we learn to LISTEN and COMMUNICATE with our kids.  That’s what TruthTalks workshops is all about.