Surviving an Overdose Death in Your Family

July 26, 2019

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Overdose Death in Your Family

In today’s society, many family members avoid talking about the death of a loved one. But what if it is an overdose death of a beloved family member? Do we avoid talking about it altogether and pretend it never happened? Or do we pretend the death was not from a drug overdose, but another physical problem? Until someone has lived through it, they don’t know the difficulties of surviving an overdose death in your family.

Families Touched by Drug Addiction

More families and friends are being touched by drug addiction today and many families are left with the grief of an overdose death of a loved one. Even though we hear the statistics of the opioid epidemic and fatal drug overdoses, we tend to think, “That only happens to other people. That would never happen in our family.” The reality is, it can happen in your family. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “70,237 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2017.

There also is another reality. Statistics are not just “numbers.” Behind each one of those statistics is a real person with a real family. This real family is left behind after a drug overdose to grieve and try to make sense of this tragic loss in their lives. They are left to feel guilty and ask questions such as, “Could I have done more? Should I have done something more than I did?” The questions are endless, but there are never any real answers.

Grief and Blame for the Overdose Death in Your Family

Naturally, when there is an overdose death in your family, every member grieves the loss. But along with that grief are many other feelings which loved ones go through. Blame is one of those very strong feelings. You feel there has to be someone or something to blame for your loss.

Along with anger, you feel blame toward:

  • Your loved one for taking the drugs and overdosing
  • The friends of your loved one who did drugs with them
  • Family members who didn’t try to prevent the substance abuse
  • Self-blame for the loved one’s addiction
  • Self-blame for you not preventing the death

In the midst of your grief, you obsess over whether you did enough to help your loved one. You think of things in hindsight that you should have done to stop the substance abuse. You drive yourself crazy with questions — questions but no answers.

The Stigma from an Overdose Death in Your Family

Many family members worry about the stigma that comes along with an overdose death in your family.  They don’t want to admit that their loved one died from addiction or an overdose. A parent may be in denial about their child being involved with drugs. They won’t openly discuss the death with other family members or friends.

Oftentimes, parents feel as if they are being judged because their child was addicted to drugs and suffered a fatal overdose. They are afraid that people are saying that they were a bad parent because they couldn’t prevent this from happening. The social stigma of addiction has to stop. People must realize that addiction can to happen to any person in any family. Addiction does not mean that you are a bad person, it means that you have a problem and need help.

Ask for Help for Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Don’t be ashamed to ask for help if you are struggling with addiction. It takes a strong person to admit that they need help and ask for it. Don’t let shame stop you from asking a family member to seek addiction treatment. Addiction touches everyone today in one way or another. The stigma of addiction has to be removed from society. Families have to stop denying that there is a problem within their family.

To learn more about inpatient addiction treatment programs, contact one of our representatives at New Beginnings Drug Rehabilitation. They can answer any questions you may have about our facility and the different programs that we offer. We don’t want another family to suffer the fate of an overdose death in your family.


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