From the Executive Director - Our Pledge: Not one more
By: Heather Wilson, MSW, CFRE, CAE
My grandmother used to say, “death always comes in threes.” Sadly, as 2020 began to unfold, it seems the rule of three has grossly elevated when it comes to those being lost to the opioid epidemic. In a span of two months, four lives within my circle of family and friends were cut short due to overdoses related to opioid addiction. They were spouses, parents and children – all gone way too soon. They leave behind a path of over-whelming sadness.
As I think about the loss in my own circle, I look to our Physicians’ Health Program (PHP) and question – are we doing enough to provide help to those who are suffering? Is the message of help and hope reaching our constituencies?
On an early Saturday morning in January, I had the opportunity to speak with about 75 physicians in the western part of the state. My outreach experience with them convinced me that we need to do more. So many myths about the PHP are incorrectly perpetuated. Each time I speak I feel like we should modify the “Ghostbusters theme song” to a “myth-busters theme song.” Despite our best efforts, there is still a perception that everyone who comes to the PHP is automatically reported to the state licensing board. That is not the case. There is a perception that every PHP participant follows a “cookie cutter” approach to assessment and possible treatment. That is not the case. The speciﬁc needs of each individual are addressed and their pathway to evaluation, treatment and monitoring is individualized to their presenting concerns.
Over and over during my presentation, I encouraged folks to call the PHP, to ask questions, to ﬁnd answers, and to connect with case management professionals and physician colleagues who can help. A phone call doesn’t cost anyone anything but their time. A phone call, which is kept completely conﬁdential, can be the ﬁrst step in saving a life and a career. On our website you will ﬁnd helpful resources and compelling videos from real folks who found help and hope with the PHP.
I say to myself, not one more funeral – not one more. I say that to the family and friends I love and care for and I also say that to the health professional community we serve daily at the PHP. Asking for help is the ﬁrst step – don’t let fear and myths keep you or those you care for from seeking the help that is readily available. We are here to take your call.