In the 21st century, society needs stories that promote the support of marginalized groups like never before. In the epoch when humanity fights for equality and safety for everyone, even more young people join the movement and involve in community solidarity events. There is an ever-growing number of problems in society that need collective action. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2021) reports, “in 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses” (para. 1). Tremendous cost is involved in handling this issue, so societal support and awareness can be the first step towards reducing the economic burden and health-related risks of the addiction.
The question is what exactly can be done to address the problem, and how can volunteers participate in reducing the impacts of the opioid crisis? Many organizations believe that providing improved access to recovery services and treatment is critical. People must understand the effects of substance misuse and overdose, while the government must advance better practices for pain management (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2021). Heal Da Homies is one of the supporting organizations that believe in their mission to help people and provide methods and products to prevent overdoses.
A 20-year-old student of the American University shared their story of becoming a member of the Heal Da Homies club in Washington. Jules Losee identifies as nonbinary and prefers the pronouns they/them. After joining Heal Da Homies, Jules began to attend their events that are organized weekly and are free for everyone to attend. One of them was held to honor the International Overdose Awareness Day and involved a live performance by Tony Aye, testimonials and presentations, HIV/ Hepatitis C testing, as well as free Narcan training (HIPS, n.d.). Jules helped organize the event and was excited to share the experience. They feel like it is their responsibility to support the marginalized groups to create a safe and trustworthy space for all people. Heal Da Homies is a non-profit, BIPOC, disabled, +queer-owned organization that focuses on meeting the needs of marginalized groups through community solidarity. Jules observed that people in need of help are often older black men. Stepping up within the community feels nice for Jules and helps build leadership skills.
The event was organized together with @hips.dc at Marvin Gaye Park and sought to increase the number of lives saved by bystanders. The American University Humanities Truck and Ward 1 Mutual Aid were collaborating to facilitate this incredible opportunity. Jules called this event miraculous as the volunteers were giving out knowledge and products for free to help overdosed people. Heal Da Homies and @hips.dc trained people to administer NARCAN to treat opioid overdose. Everyone can join the center to help reduce overdose deaths by attending their in-person training events. Both organizations believe that an opportunity for mutual learning and conversation is critical in combating substance abuse problems among the population. A presentation and naloxone demonstration was followed by ample time for community feedback and discussion. Narcan nasal spray was distributed for free, which is effective for treating opioid overdose emergencies with obvious signs of breathing problems. Jules noted that it is easy to carry and effective, so everyone should bring one in their bag in case somebody needs help. The AU club works on the distribution of this product to prevent further opioid overdose casualties.
HIPS [@hips.dc. (n.d.). Posts [Instagram profile]. Web.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021). Opioid overdose crisis. Web.