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Letter: Celebrity Overdose

Another celebrity [Philip Seymour Hoffman] has died from a heroin overdose. With his death came public outrage, shock and disbelief. Yet, every day since and every day before that overdose, people are dying from heroin and prescription drug use. Our relatives, our friends and our neighbors are devastated from the lethal consequences of drug use; yet, here we are again. Some arrests, some finger pointing, some outrage, yet people, old and young, continue to die.

And they will continue to die until as a nation, as a society, as a community, and as parents, we are willing to acknowledge what is right in front of our eyes. We must work harder to prevent drug use and educate our children when they are young. We must teach parents, medical professionals and our elected officials that the only real way we will ever impact this growing epidemic is to address the emotional and physical pain that causes use and acknowledge the disease of addiction before it destroys a life. We must support voices who are willing to champion for those who have lost their voices. We must literally put our money where our mouths are and demand that our government fund prevention treatment efforts and insure that help is available on all levels to treat those in need.

Our children deserve that we pay attention to what can destroy their futures. In every tragedy there is opportunity; opportunity to learn and do something different or better. This is our opportunity… lest we continue to repeat the cycle and wait for the next headline. Our kids deserve better!

Jamie Bogenshutz, LCSW

Executive Director of YES Community Counseling Center