SHARE YOUR OPIOID STORY
Share Your Opioid Story was created to provide a place for people affected by the opioid crisis to connect and empower themselves through sharing stories. It started with a conversation about the crisis with community members in the Philadelphia area. That conversation sparked an idea that has since grown to a statewide and nationwide effort. Here’s why: stories move people. They affect how we see the world and how we act. In discussions about the opioid epidemic, however, individuals’ stories often remain unseen and unheard under broad statistics. Just as understanding the crisis through statistics is important to finding solutions, so too is reflecting upon the firsthand, lived experiences of people affected by the opioid crisis. Your story matters, so we work to put a face to the numbers associated with the opioid crisis.
Our goal in collecting and sharing these stories is to minimize the stigma surrounding the crisis by helping people talk more openly about addiction. For many people, stigma is one of the hardest obstacles in seeking and receiving treatment and in sustaining recovery. Stigma is the invisible stain we place on people and ourselves. Stigma shames and isolates and creates divides of “them” and “us.” We think stories can change that. Your story can change someone’s mind. Your story can combat stigma.
We encourage anyone who has experienced opioid use disorder or who has been affected by another person’s opioid use disorder to share your story. We know that addiction is a disease that impacts whole families and whole communities, so we encourage anyone impacted by the crisis to share your story. Your story can make all the difference in someone struggling in active addiction, in someone loving someone in active addiction, in someone grieving a loved one’s overdose death, in someone in the early days of recovery, in someone experiencing relapse, in someone in long term recovery – and in someone who has no idea what it’s like to live with or love someone with substance use disorder. You’ll see that people with all types of experiences and backgrounds interact with our site. We want people to know that the opioid crisis can affect anyone from any background: addiction does not discriminate. Share Your Opioid Story is also our attempt to highlight the various paths that people take through addiction and recovery.
We at the initiative believe that those who struggle with addiction deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We know that addiction is a disease that requires medical assistance and professional counseling. We hope that those affected by addiction do not feel shame or blame, and instead feel empowered by talking about their story with others. You are not alone, your life is important, and there are several ways to seek help for yourself or to help others find the help they need. Please see our Resources page for information – and please also feel free to tell us of additional resources we should include on our site.
Thank you to everyone who has shared your stories with us and to everyone who has read and shared these stories. We invite you, your friends, and family members to share your own experience with the opioid crisis. We hope you will talk with others about opioid use disorder, addiction, and substance use disorder as a whole, by educating others about the realities of this disease. We sincerely believe that every story associated with the opioid crisis deserves to be told. Your story matters.
This project is coordinated by Dr. Glenn Sterner, a faculty member at The Pennsylvania State University and an affiliate of the Justice Center for Research. This project is funded by the Independence Blue Cross Foundation with support from the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.