To the Editor:
My name is Brenda Jergens, and I am the parent of a person who struggled with substance use disorder. This disease tore my family apart, broke my heart more times than I can count, robbed him of a future and ultimately took my sweet son’s life.
Before drugs came into our lives, I thought that if I loved my children, cared for them, set boundaries, helped set goals and made sure they were safe, that they would be prepared for life and have the necessary tools to avoid drugs and alcohol. But this disease, as do many other diseases, doesn’t care that you read stories, tucked them into bed each night, watched school plays and sports games by the hundreds.
It’s indiscriminate, and once it strikes, there is no telling who will win the tug-of-war for the lives of those affected.
All too often, the people we love are losing this battle to the disease of addiction. I fear every minute of every day that my grandchildren, whom I love more than I can possibly explain, will maybe fight this same battle and lose themselves in it, too.
There are about 45 million Americans and their families directly affected by addiction, and many of them, just like I, would do anything to rid themselves of this disease. We fight an inadequate health care system, along with the stigma and misconceptions associated with substance use disorder every day. Facing Addiction is bringing millions of people impacted by addiction together to advocate for more effective policies and programs so that another family can be spared the pain I know all too well.
Please go to facingaddiction.org to see how you can join us in helping to end this public health crisis.