Families discuss real life experiences with Opioid Addiction

State Senator Judy Schwank hosted an Opioid Addiction Awareness panel discussion Thursday night at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School in Shillington.

The night featured an Naloxone demonstration by Reading Health System, panel discussion including people who have had family members suffer from an opioid addiction and a small group Q&A session with community resource organizations.

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“This night isn’t about the experts, it’s about the real people who have been through this in there own lives” said Sen. Schwank said in here opening comments.

Prior to the panel discussion Charles F. Barbera, Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Reading Hospital to give a short Naloxone demonstration. Giving a few samples to pass around let the audience get a feel for the medication containers.

“This is really life saving, we save on average 1-3 patients a day because of this drug. Mostly by Police, fire or ems or even at home” said Dr. Barbera.

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For the discussion, a group of three panelist was invited on stage to share their own family stories. Although the details they shared were personal, what brought the panel together was the important call to let others know they are not alone.

A few of the common themes of the night included concerns not typically thought of by those who may not have experience dealing with a family member addicted to Opioids. The panelist talked about issues with health care, insurance and dealing with the opinions of friends and family members.

Dealing with family members with addictions is not an easy subject to talk about. The panelist all wanted the audience to understand that they are not alone.

The night ended with the audience breaking off into small groups where they could go into more detail about there own personal stories.

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