I first stumbled upon the Faces of Overdose Twitter page last month, when I was writing about the unexpected death of 23-year-old American man Andrew Oswald.
Andrew was the same age as I am now. He died of a heroin overdose.
“On Jan. 27, 2017, our beautiful son, Andrew, died from an overdose of heroin,” his parents wrote in the obituary.
“… The day Andrew died, we died along with him.”
What struck me most about the story was the photo of the young man, whose battles with substance abuse and drug addiction were so concealed, they weren't known by many of his close friends. In the photo I saw a happy, ordinary, slightly nerdy guy. Andrew Oswald is definitely not someone who comes to mind when the word "heroin" is hissed. He just looks like someone's friend, brother, or cousin.
Which means I'm precisely the kind of person the Faces of Overdose Twitter page seeks to educate. Because, as we all need to be reminded sometimes, addiction doesn't "look" like any one type of person. It looks like all of us.
A single scroll produces the stories of Andrew Carini, a 41-year-old commercial fisherman with a "heart of gold"; Andrea Aspensen, aged 32 and a "proud and accomplished nurse"; 19-year-old Zac Schneider, who had just graduated high school and made a habit of "always sticking up for the underdogs"; Casey McEvoy an "old soul" who "found peace" at 24; and so, so many more.
Here are some of the people who lost their lives to heroin, prescription medication, ice, and other drug addictions so far in 2017. Their faces hold an important reminder for all of us: addiction doesn't discriminate.
For more, visit the Faces of Overdose Twitter page here.