Addiction is a complicated, horrific disease that can end life prematurely and destroy families. As much as the opioid crisis has been discussed on the news lately, and as frequently as heartbreaking stories of those that die as a result of overdose are told, it can be easy to think that it will never be something that will touch us or our loved ones personally.
Marguerite Ward learned firsthand how devastating addiction can be when she lost her own 21-year-old brother, Matt Ward, on May 31, 2019, to an overdose, according to Today.
Ward recalls the last time she saw her brother alive. It was over FaceTime the evening before he passed away. He was a budding musician and played her some of the stuff he'd been working on over the phone. She had no sign that there was anything going on with her brother, or that she would never see him alive again. Unfortunately, the next day she would receive a call that her brother had died as a result of an apparent fentanyl poisoning in an accidental drug overdose.
While Ward can't get her beloved brother back, she can help spread awareness about the ongoing opioid and fentanyl crisis, which is such a serious issue here in the United States that is continuing to increase in prevalence. Thus, she has resolved to teach others six primary tidbits of information about addiction that everyone needs to know. Knowing these things can help people recognize the signs of abuse among their own friends and family members and help them get the treatment they need before it's too late.
Ward emphasized that it's crucial to not treat opioids like other forms of medicine because of how quickly they can affect the brain. It's also key to know what kind of things to look out for, for example behavioral changes that could be signs of addiction. Finally, family members should write down the red flags they see, ask for help from professionals and get naloxone as soon as soon as possible. This drug blocks the effects of fentanyl. It's also a good idea to get fentanyl test strips.