By Stephanie Wittels Wachs, host of Last Day podcastOctober 22, 2020
What gives me hope?
Oh, God, that’s a trick question. Because right now the overdose rates are not good, and you know why they’re not good?
Because a big thing we uncovered on Last Day is: You cannot use alone, and everyone is alone right now. So, that’s something that I know now is very important. My brother died alone, of an overdose. [Last Day co-founder and CEO Jessica Cordova Kramer’s brother] Stefano died alone.
If we can get that message out about, “Listen, if you’re going to use…”
The most gut-wrenching part of the entire season of Last Day, Season 1, hands down, for me was when Jess was sobbing and said, “If I had Stefano here, I would just beg him not to use alone, and I’d say, ‘I don’t care, wake me up in the middle of the night, wake me up. I will be in the other room, I will not judge you. Just don’t use alone because we need to have Narcan ready for you. We need to be ready to save you if you have fentanyl in there, if something goes wrong.’”
That is a really important part of this. I have hope that I think people are starting to understand that.
I think there’s a lot more talk now about harm reduction. Narcan is a word I did not know when my person was struggling, and I think a lot more people are getting on board with harm reduction overall being a principle that we need to abide by.
If we could stay the CARES Act’s shift in telehealth and provide access to medication: that’s been an unanticipated great part of where we are right now. If more doctors are able to prescribe these medications, if we don’t have to have special waivers, if we shift our thinking around these medications to say like, “These are tools to fight against a disease,” I think we’ll save a lot of lives.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs is co-founder and chief creative officer of Lemonada Media, which produces Last Day podcast, as well as In Recovery, hosted by Nzinga Harrison, M.D., a physician board-certified in psychiatry and addiction medicine. Dr. Harrison wrote this beautiful Story of Hope.
(If you haven’t listened to this podcast, this handy overview of highlight episodes and Jess’ favorite shows may be a good place to start.)