Like many young people, Luke’s struggle began in high school and slowly progressed.
We’ve come to learn that even legitimately prescribed medications can affect young, developing brains in ways many don’t understand. Luke was in high school when he was first prescribed opioids that would have an impact on his decision making and future drug use. It was Fall, 2014 when he first used heroin, and within a very short period of time he was fully addicted. Thus began a journey of recovery and relapse that ended in two short years with his death from an accidental overdose in our home on January 7, 2016 at the age of 20.
After Luke’s death we were disheartened to learn how many other young people in our community were struggling with the disease of addiction — particularly opioid addiction — through the many people who reached out to us. They shared our pain and understood our tragedy because they had children who were also battling.
It became clear that no one is immune. Opioids and addiction will continue to take lives if we don’t remove the stigma and shame associated with Substance Use Disorder, encourage open and honest conversations about drugs, and educate students, parents, educators and members of our communities.
Unfortunately there is not a single place in our country that isn’t affected by addiction and the opioid epidemic. It is everywhere. One in three households are impacted by addiction, directly or indirectly.
It is our hope that, together, we can Change the Outcome for others by collaborating, advocating and educating so that our schools and communities can play an active role in combating the opioid/substance use epidemic and the unprecedented rise in addiction.