According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were 1,268 overdose deaths in Tennessee alone. That is too many lost lives. Community members, partners and leaders alike are affected by the opioid epidemic. The TN Dept of Health is hoping to change that with their Tennessee Faces of Opioids campaign.
The campaign itself was brought on by the great need to express how many lives have been devastated by this awful epidemic. Families and individuals from the 95 counties in Tennessee have willingly shared their stories in hopes of making a difference, spreading awareness and helping others.
Elizabeth Hart and Bill Christian, Associate Directors of Communication for the TN Dept of Health, drove all over Tennessee to interview Tennesseans and they learned so much about the disease of addiction and just how deep the opioid epidemic has impacted the people of this state. One thing they learned is most of those who are strong in their recovery attribute a great deal of their success to faith in a Higher Power. (One of my best friends told me once that faith allows us to process trauma.)
The Tennessee Faces of Opioids website, tnfacesofopiods.com, is a place where we have shared our stories. If you have a story to tell about how the opioid epidemic has impacted your life and maybe what you are doing to be proactive in helping others, there is a place for you to share.
My family and I went to the launch event for the campaign in Nashville, TN at the Tennessee State Museum because Shelby’s story was chosen to be one of the ones who represent Shelby County. There were posters of all shared their stories. There were also speakers who ranged from those who are in recovery, to community partners dedicated to helping others, to those who have lost loved ones. It was a very moving and powerful experience. Especially when one of the speakers, Robbie from Washington County, sang the most beautiful, spiritually uplifting song. I cried....a lot.
Some of the messages I took away from this launch event were:
“Love them until they can love themselves”
“If I can save at least ONE person…”
“LET’S DO SOMETHING!”
“Care with consistency”
Real stories from real people! Real action for real change!
I believe together we can make a real difference! Better together!
It’s OK to get help!
Tennessee Faces of Opioids