boy sitting on bunk bed and hooded person walking in

There is a killer on the loose folks, and it’s not Ebola. In America, Ebola’s got nothing on drug overdoses.

Let’s look at the facts because they are really, really simple. Americans who have died from Ebola to date : 1

Americans who die daily from drug overdoses : 100 A DAY

Is Ebola a horrible illness that can be fatal? Yes. Should we be vigilant and careful so that it doesn’t spread in America? Of course. I am not making light of the disease of Ebola, the death and destruction it has caused thousands, nor am I brushing off the fatal implications if it were to spread here in the U.S.

But it is not an epidemic in America. It is not causing deaths every day in America. It is not killing our families off.

Drugs are doing that. And we’re not talking about it. Why?

I have a few ideas around why we don’t discuss the fact that drug overdoses are the real epidemic in our country.

1. People still think drug and alcohol addiction is a disease of choice. This is flawed thinking. This is a disease, just like Ebola. And just like Ebola, it kills.

2. The media is bored with drug and alcohol addiction. I think that we’ve become so used to hearing about drug arrests, drunk driving, celebrity drug stories, drug overdoses, and drug gang wars that we have become immune to the message. We just look past it and move on to something we haven’t yet heard of – like Ebola.

3. There’s nothing we can do to stop it. Wrong. The disease of addiction IS treatable and can be curable. The problem is we aren’t talking about it anymore. We don’t talk about drugs, addiction or treatment. We look the other way.

Anyone remember the, “Just Say No,” drug campaign from the 80s? We talked about drugs extensively in schools and learned about how they can hurt or kill us. We knew that drugs were illegal and dangerous and that we needed to stay away from them. We knew what they looked like. We practiced role playing where we said, “No!” Nowadays, there is hardly any talk about drugs with our children. No one talks about the dangers associated with drugs or alcohol. We’re focused on new dangers like texting while driving and bullying – both of which are important things to discuss with our children – but there is little to no talk about drugs.

And all the while we’re checking for bullies and monitoring cell phones; drugs and alcohol are right there, silently infecting and picking off our loved ones – one by one.

The other day I told my 12 year old about what meth does to the human body. How it breaks down the tissue in the skin and causes sores that are prone to infection. How it literally rots your teeth. How it stops you from sleeping, eating or functioning properly. He was horrified and rightly so. I feel comfortable that the next time he hears the word meth, he’s going to have formed a pretty negative opinion about it. That’s a start.

Have you had that conversation in your family?

Today, I’m calling on you to talk to your kids about the epidemic that is literally killing us every day. With the heart of the, “Just Say No,” campaign I ask you start the conversation about this epidemic and how we can treat it.

If it’s not “Just Say No,” Please, please – just say something.

Thanks for reading and be safe,

Julie Eisenbeck

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