Stephen Forzato, the inaugural director of Saint Joseph's new Center for Addiction and Recovery Education (CARE) can be available to comment on the newly released CDC report on Life expectancy and its relation to drug overdoses. He cautions against interpreting this as a "win" against opioid and drug addiction. Here are a few thoughts he shared:
“For me, these numbers represent human beings who deserve dignity and respect. We don’t applaud “slight decreases” when it comes to human lives. Every life is sacred. Every lost life to this disease has a name, a family, and a community.”
“70,200 suffered fatal overdoses in 2017 and 68,500 in 2018. Opioid overdoses had a slight decrease in that time period. Some say that is significant. I say, it is not time to take a victory lap. There is much more work to be done. Still, too many families grieve every day when they get calls, or a knock on their doors from police officers, that their loved ones lost their battle against addiction.”
“By more work I mean more effective prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support. Doing so will drive the numbers of deaths down and prevent future outbreaks, just like any other disease.”
“Recovery is hard work. I am concerned about recovery fatigue for those afflicted with the disease of substance use disorder. Relapses create despair because they know too well the hole they may end up in."