I have always loved the movie Peter Pan. I loved the whimsical ways of Neverland and the idea of never growing up. Until I met my very own Peter Pan and then I learned I really related more to Wendy than anyone else in the movie. I was the responsible, motherly figure who was too afraid to fly. Jeremy took me on my first real adventure. But just like Peter Pan, it did not come without danger. You could say we had pirates of our own. Those pirates included drugs, drug dealers and our own Captain Hook. I try not to let myself drown in the terrible flash backs of the encounters with the Pirates, but I can’t forgo them for the memories of our jolly adventures, because those encounters with the Pirates, helped make me who I am today. And who I am today is a advocate for change in our substance abuse and mental health treatments and facilities.
The sad truth behind Peter Pan is that he leaves Wendy broken hearted and alone….the same way I was left after Jeremy’s death. I’ve watched this movie many times since Jeremy’s death; it’s a time for me to reflect. If pixie dust existed and I could live my happily ever after, we would have flown to Neverland together and that would have been the end of that. But in reality, for me, Neverland is a world where drugs do not exist.
Peter Pan is one of the many Disney movies without a true hero. Some people may say that Peter was the hero, but he was clearly as much of a victim of his circumstance as Wendy was. This is true for Jeremy was well. I’ve told so many people before and have written it in previous blogs, although Jeremy choose to do drugs, he choose to take that path, he was failed time and time again by a system that should have helped him over and over again.
I keep coming across articles, stories, testimonials, of families and friends who have lost loved ones to overdoses. Heroin is the leading cause of overdose deaths in Delaware. Late last year, the Delaware department of Justice under attorney general Matt Denn devised a 4 part plan to attack substance abuse (please see below article)
So far, none of these “initiatives” have been placed into action. Within the past month a 3 part article was released by Delaware online outlining the significance and desperate need for change to combat our states drug problem. The attorney general is back again with his half ass programs. The new program called hero help which has only been released in New Castle County, like the rest of the state isn’t suffering, has qualities that could greatly benefit our communities as it has done in Massachusetts, where the program we are starting was created and implemented. But Attorney General Denn has not yet provided funding that is necessary for this program to become successful. Instead we are reallocating already failing resources. If the initial part of the program goes well, funding may be in order. It is hard to imagine the program being successful if it does not even have the necessary funds for it to get up and running. The below article from the Delaware News Journal outlines the new program.
At this point, what he has done was help supply Delaware law enforcement officers with narcan, a life saving, overdose reversing agent, to aid them as they see fit. But that is not enough. We should be combatting this problem before it gets to that point, before these officers, Emts and doctors have to administer narcan.
The truth lies in the below article, the resources just arnt available in state for those searching for help. Those who really want help are desperate to find it, even if it could mean jail time for violating probation to see out of state services.
Instead, we are funding, new age, short term fixes like naltrexone, an injectable medication that is proclaimed to give addicts 30 days of relief from addiction symptoms. Instead of searching for funding for addictions counseling, more substance abuse centers, expanding already open facilities and providing coping skills and resources like hybrid dual diagnosis treatments, we look to science to fix the problem. The idea of naltrexone is a great one, but new research has proved that the brain will heal itself from the chemical reactions that take place when getting high. The body just needs a greater amount of time to heal itself without drugs.
You may be wondering how all this ties back to Peter Pan. Peter Pan signifies all those lost in addiction, those who have died and those who still continue to suffer. Maybe they have a Wendy, like myself, who more then anything wants to help them find themselves, who want to help bring them home. But the addicts living in Delaware, they have no hero. They continue to be lost souls, bouncing around a land that is never going to give them back to the real world, not without change. Due to the system that bounced Jeremy between drug court, substance abuse counselors, mental health counselors and jail, with no resolve, I will now only see my Peter Pan in my dreams.
We need to urge our attorney general to provide more help, to provide more resources. Something must be done about this epidemic. Families and loved ones should never have to go through what Jeremy’s family and I went through. Those seeking help should be provided the tools for sobriety and the resources to say clean.