Every day I wake up and it is my mission to do everything possible to make sure that I make a difference when it comes to addiction and recovery. If you asked me five years ago if this would be my life, I would've laughed at you.
This year I attended the Prism Awards and presented my mentor, Dr. Drew, with an award. It was such a crazy experience for a number of reasons. First off, standing up on stage and handing an award over to someone who is part of the reason why I am alive today is a trip in itself. But what struck me even more is that I only heard about the Prism's for the first time last year -- at their 16th annual award show.
How had I never heard of this amazing event before? I have been sober for five years and have dedicated my life to my sobriety and the betterment of others. Then it began to sink in. A lot of these efforts to bring awareness to the dangers of addiction do not get as much widespread attention as they should (at least in my opinion). Once I started thinking about that, it just blew my mind. I partner with a lot of awesome groups of people who share the same mission as I do, such as the Shapiro Foundation and Young People in Recovery (YPR), however I don't feel as though they get enough spotlight as they should, especially considering recent findings.
According to The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report released by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, drug overdose is now the leading cause of injury death in America. The report shows that every year, almost 44,000 people lose their lives to drug overdose. In fact, even more people are dying from drug overdose now than ever before, with nearly 25,000 people overdosing on prescription drugs specifically.
Today, almost everyone can relate to addiction because they likely know someone who is addicted, has recovered, or has suffered a fatal overdose. It is my hope that as we continue to make strides in recognizing those who are doing something to bring these numbers down, that efforts such as the Prism Awards can obtain more acknowledgement and attention so we can help those people who need it. If I've learned anything in five years of being sober, it's that there is help out there, and there is no need to suffer from an overdose or any other horrible side effect of addiction. We are on a mission -- and I invite you to join us.