Voices of FEND
Four weeks into the FEND campaign last year, we asked FEND participants to share their stories about opioids, addiction, overdose or recovery. In the first 24-hour period, we were overwhelmed by the response – 1200 stories, poems, paintings, drawings. Below are just a few of these Voices of FEND.
*Real names have been changed for privacy reasons
I have personally never had anyone I know become addicted to opioids nor have I had to help someone who has overdosed on them but since I’ve gotten this app and extended my knowledge on the subject I’m confident I have the ability to help identify and treat someone who has overdosed on them. I could save someone’s life!*Celia, 16
I’ve been learning a lot through the FEND app. I learned that lots of people use them for pain relief, but they’re highly addictive. Also, I learned that slow breathing, small pupils, blue skin, or being unresponsive can mean somebody has overdosed. If you’ve found somebody that’s overdosed, you should give them Narcan, call 911, and lay them on their side till help comes.*Josh, 18
I think that if the doctors had given me a choice, and made me aware of what these painkillers did and how addictive they were, I wouldn’t have taken that road.*Ryan, 26
I’ve always known that opioids were dangerous once a person got addicted to them. I never realized how common it was for people to overdose on opioids. Before downloading this app, I didn’t know what to do or the signs to look for when there is an overdose. Now, I know the symptoms and what position to put the body in. I now know how to save someone’s life.*Chad, 16
I never realised that people of all ages can get addicted to opioids. I always thought it was just those who did illegal non-prescription drugs. Seeing this app, I’m now more careful watching what I take, and that I’m taking it as directed. It’s crazy to think that addiction can happen to anyone.*Bryan, 17
I live in a small town in SE Kentucky where opioids are an epidemic. There are parents who keep Narcan in their refrigerator because their children overdose too often for an ambulance to make it in time, every time.*Joe, 22
I had a very close friend pass away this year from an opioid overdose. He had two friends with him when it happened, and since they didn’t know how to do anything and were too scared to call the police, he passed. Learning what to do when this happens has made me realize how easy it would have been to help him stay alive.*Matt, 19
I’m in Rescue/EMS and see the end result of opioid use weekly usually. It is a huge problem in my community and is horrifyingly sad. The most interesting thing on FEND for me is seeing how you broke down what to do to help people who have overdosed so that anyone, even without medical training, can help if they encounter someone in need.*Casey, 23
I’ve heard how dangerous opioids are, but nobody tells me why and what I can do if someone is overdosing. The FEND app has really taught me what to do how to help and really makes me want to spread awareness because this is so serious. This doesn’t just target a specific group of teens but everyone is vulnerable in this situation because anyone can be prescribed this drug. I would love to learn so much more, but in the meantime I’m glad I know how to help.*Jesse, 16
Addiction can sneak up on you. You’re fine and suddenly you’re in a hospital after overdosing. It’s okay to need help. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Seeking help doesn’t make you weak and addictions don’t make you weak. There are many people just like you struggling with the same addiction. If you ever feel like there’s a problem, get help. People will listen. Trust me.*Kaz, 20
The greatest worst days of my life
Nearly five years, I’ve been on this trip and was there ever a destination? Was I to fly to the moon on a big spaceship or suffer through eternal damnation?
I know I’ve had more than enough and I think I’m ready to change now I know that this is gonna get rough and I gotta do it alone, somehow.
So I sit in the shower for days on end I ride the waves of withdrawal my dirty bucket is my new best friend and all I do is puke and bawl.
It’s hard to see the light ahead I try to let go of despair my sanity is hanging on by a thread but Will & Grace keeps me going, I swear.
Despite my body’s fierce protest and my guts being stabbed by a knife I know that what I’m doing is best These are the greatest worst days of my life.*Emma, 20
Last week I sprained my ankle playing soccer. The ER doctor gave me a script for 30-days Oxycodone. But a few days ago I got the FEND app and learned you can get addicted to opioids in 4-5 days! The doctor never told me that. I stopped taking the tablets straight away. Thank you for giving people this information.”*Jayden, 17
I have learned that most of us already have preconceived thoughts about what kinds of people are addicted to drugs. But it’s not always the creepy guy in the alleyway or the high school dropout. It’s “normal” people – the straight-A student, your best friend’s mom, your neighbor who waves to you when you get the mail. That is why it is so important to learn about opioids. Anyone can be put in a situation where somebody starts to OD. Knowing the signs of an opioid overdose and what to do in that situation are crucial.*Sam, 19