We Remember Them

We Remember Them

August is Overdose Awareness Month. It’s a time for local and national communities to come together to remember the lives lost to this terrible epidemic, and to educate the public about the signs of an overdose. Addiction doesn’t discriminate, and neither does the grief you can have when you lose someone to an overdose.

According to the American Addiction Centers, “an overdose can occur after someone consumes a toxic level of a substance (or multiple substances) and the effects of this interfere with their brain and body’s ability to function properly. Drug overdose can be fatal; however, when it isn’t, overdose-related toxicity can result in several negative short-term and long-term health consequences.” There are many different types of overdoses, such as an opioid overdose (this includes heroin, fentanyl, and most prescription painkillers); a stimulant overdose (this includes methamphetamine and cocaine); and a benzodiazepine overdose (this includes Valium, Ativan, Xanax, and Klonopin). Depending on the type of overdose, the potential signs will vary.

  • An opioid overdose may include: loss of consciousness, shallow and slow breathing, blue/purple lips and fingertips, pale/gray skin tone, choking, and gurgling.
  • A stimulant overdose may include: rapid breathing, extremely high blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature, hallucinations, psychosis (such as paranoia), seizures, and convulsions.
  • A benzodiazepine overdose may include: slurred speech, obvious confusion and an impaired mental state, and slowed breathing.

It’s very important to call 911 as soon as you suspect an overdose. Seconds count. Naloxone (Narcan) can help reverse an opioid overdose if given immediately (though it will not cause harm if given during other types of overdoses). Check with your local pharmacy, health department, or doctor’s office to see where this is available to you. If you have it on hand, administor it before emergency workers arrive. No matter the type of overdose you suspect is happening, lay the person on his/her side to prevent choking and try to keep them awake while waiting for help.

When you lose someone to an overdose, sometimes it’s expected and sometime it isn’t. But no matter what, you will likely feel shocked and angry. You will cry and feel numb. You will feel guility and you will think about what could have been done differently. You will blame everyone, including yourself. The roller coaster of this complicated grief feels endless, and add to that the shame and stigma from society, and you will begin to feel isolated and judged. An overdose death is difficult to handle in many ways, and the only way to begin to heal is by sharing your story and photographs, and by fighting against the stigma that is all too familair.

Those lost aren’t just a number on a billboard or a nameless face. They are our siblings, children, parents, significant others, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and strangers. They deserve to be honored and remembered.

It’s been almost five and a half years since I last saw my sister Dana. She passed away on March 7, 2018 (her 31st birthday). I don’t have adequate words to describe how I’ve felt since losing her because those feelings run so deep and are so big. If you have never lost a loved one to addiction, you’re lucky. We don’t just lose them when they’re no longer physically here; we lose them over the course of time as addiction etches away bits and pieces of them until they’re just a sad shell of who they once were. Once they are gone, we are left behind with so many complicated feelings and thoughts. The guilt can keep us awake at night. The What Ifs follow us around like a dark shadow. The sadness and anger drag us down.

Dana was someone. She isn’t just a statistic. She mattered and she was loved. She still matters and she is still loved. If it’s quiet enough, I can still hear her loud obnoxious laugh. Addiction cannot extinguish the bright light I have for her in my heart. I see parts of her in my own daughters. She’s still here; just in a different place.

I carry her with me in the work I do with Rage Against Addiction as the Administrator and Newsletter Writer. I miss her all the time. She’s always on my mind. She is loved. Always.

Read the Note on Matters of Mental Health by Wendy

Overdose Awareness Month is a heartbreaking reminder that people are still dying from this disease. Support recovery so we can change the trajectory of the lives of so many individuals and their families.

How? Attend nearby fundraisers. Share stories of hope. Volunteer at your local homeless shelter or recovery house. Educate yourself on addiction. Check out our Memory Wall and donate in memory of a loved one.

Contact Rage Today To Beat Addiction Now

Have you heard?! Our episodes on Conversations with Rich Bennett are heard in eighty-two Countries around the world! We are #1 in the addiction category and are in the top 10% for overall globally. Listen in to hear stories of recovery, hope, and loss as well as information about mental health, addiction, and healing.

Our most popular episodes are:
-A Mother’s Love for Her Daughter in Recovery
-Supporting Each Other Through The Journey of Recovery.
-Ramble To the Festival for Great Music, Friends, Art and Cereal

Check our Event Calendar for the latest details about what we’re up to.

September 9, 2023: September is National Recovery Month, and we are hosting a Bingo Night! Local businesses have kindly donated many exciting prizes for you to win! Come find out what they are! This event will be held on Saturday, September 9, 2023. Doors will open at 5:30pm and games will begin at 6:00pm at Abingdon Fire Hall (3306 Abingdon Road – Abingdon, MD 21009). It will be an fun-filled evening where the community can come together to celebrate individuals who are new to recovery or who have been on the journey for many years, and it will also give support to those still struggling with addiction. Please purchase tickets in advance.

We serve locally but think globally. For counseling, or for addiction, substance abuse disorder, or mental illness treatment, please contact your area’s health department, county government, hospital, or law enforcement agency.

Addiction Connections Resource: A non-profit organization that assists with providing resources and support for addiction treatment and that educates the community about substance abuse disorder. Located in Fallston, MD. Please visit here or call 443-417-7810 for more information.

Ashley Addiction Treatment: An inpatient treatment center that personalizes clinical programs based on individual need. Located in Havre De Grace, MD. Please visit here or call 800-799-4673 for information about online and in-person meeting services.

Celebrate Recovery: A local support group for those with addictive behaviors. Located in Bel Air, MD and Joppa, MD.​

Mt. Zion Church (1643 Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015): every Thursday at 5:45pm. Please visit here for more information about meetings.

Mountain Christian Church (New Life Center 1802 Mountain Road, Joppa, MD 21085): every Friday at 6:00pm. Please visit here for more details.

GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing): A local support group for those who have lost someone to addiction.

7:00pm on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.

Located in the Education Building at Mt. Zion Church: 1643 Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015

Contact lisa.craig4@verizon.net for more information. The private national Facebook group is available. Please visit here to ask to join.

The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center: A clinic that provides immediate care for mental health and addiction. Located in Bel Air, MD. Please visit here or call 410-874-0711 for information about services.

Loving An Addict: A local support group for family and friends of those in active addiction.

7:00 pm every Saturday.

Located in the Education Building at Mt. Zion Church: 1643 Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015

Contact lisa.craig4@verizon.net for more information.

Voices Of Hope: An organization made up of people in recovery who advocate for behavioral health disorder prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery resources, who eliminate the stigma of addiction through outreach events and education, and who support all pathways of recovery including harm reduction and Narcan training. Located in Cecil County, MD. Please visit here or call 443-933-7055 for information about services.

Daughter’s House: Designed to assist women who are transitioning from substance abuse treatment to recovery; includes three sober living houses (Daughter’s House, Sister House, and The Cottage) located in the suburbs of Harford County, MD. Click here to visit the Facebook page.

RAA ABC (After Baby Care): Provides post-partum care packages to new mothers in early recovery. Check out our program Gift List here.

Rage Club: This program is a resource broker for families and children who have been touched by the devastation of addiction; we encourage open and ongoing conversations as we believe that is the first step in the healing process.

HALO (How to Live Without Our Addicted Loved One): An online grief support group specifically for those that lost loved ones to substance abuse. Click here to ask to join the private Facebook page. *Please read and answer the membership questions prior to joining.*

Wendy Beck: Founder and Executive Director

Rachel Bongiorno: Recovery Coach and Daughter’s House Program Director

Mia Ellis: Newsletter Writer and Administrator

Amanda Buddenbohn: Board of Directors

Tara Kuzma: Chairman of the Board of Directors