Every seven minutes, someone in the United States takes their last breath because of a drug overdose. Every seven minutes, someone loses their mother, daughter, son, brother, sister, or friend.
That’s more than double the number of people murdered every year. Sadly, things aren’t getting better. Overdose deaths have increased nine out of the last ten years. Further, the overwhelming number of people who die of overdose are under the age of 35. More than a third of these are 18 years old or younger.
The Addiction Stigma and Cycle
Unfortunately, many of the people who end up dead from an overdose are not the type of people that the public wants to talk about. While addiction doesn’t care about someone’s race, gender, upbringing, or socioeconomic status, the stigma of the drug addict is alive and well in our culture.
This is, to a degree, understandable. Drugs cost money, and many drug users turn to crime to afford their habit. However, a large percentage of drug addicts started out as prescription drug users. Many started out recovering from an injury in the decade when doctors gave out pain killers like candy. Once the prescription runs out, the addiction remains, and the addict enters the vacuum of trying to find help in an extremely complicated and fragmented system. Morrow Porter Vermitsky & Taylor’s criminal lawyers help addicts every day to pick up the pieces after a criminal charge or when their children or family members are taken away by the Department of Social Services. Until recently, the only option for addicts entangled in the court system was a justice system that often more resembles a meat grinder than a solution. They would go to jail, go through withdrawal, get out, and do more drugs than they did before to mask the sickness and pain. This cycle ends in two things—repetition or death. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Drug Treatment Court Can Help
Drug treatment court is a method of helping people charged with crimes related to drugs to get clean through a combination of testing, regular accountability, rewards, earned leniency, and positive peer support. Running a drug treatment court takes time, effort and most importantly funding. Enter Claudia Marini.
Claudia is a teacher and mom. Tragically, Claudia lost her beautiful daughter, Maddie Marini, in 2016 when she died of a drug overdose at only 22 years old. She decided to devote her entire life to helping others avoid the pain that she has lived with every day since. Claudia founded Maddie’s Miles, a 5K race that solely supports the efforts of drug treatment court. For the last five years, Maddie’s Miles has raised money to support Phoenix Rising of Winston Salem, Inc. by bringing people together as a community to say NO MORE.
Join Us in Supporting Maddie’s Miles
At Morrow Porter Vermitsky & Taylor, we see addiction every day. Whether we defend a client charged with DWI, try to help our clients keep their children, or represent someone involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident, addiction is often present. As a result, we have teamed up with Claudia to present Maddie’s Miles this year and for each year going forward. We believe that together, we can make a difference and we can reduce the stigma surrounding addiction. If you are reading this, we ask you to consider running or walking in the race. If you can’t, we ask you to consider donating to the cause. Most of all, we ask you to do what you can to help. Our brothers, sisters, friends, sons, and daughters don’t have to die.