Where was Jimmy?
This is a story about overdose. I used to eat breakfast with a small group of friends every Sunday. It was a quiet, relaxing time to get together and talk. One of my friends was named Jimmy. Jimmy lived in a neighborhood nearby. That was one thing we had in common. He wasn’t in the same immediate housing development, but he lived in the next one over.
It was a bit of a drive to get to the diner where we met for breakfast, so every Sunday, I thought to myself, “I should just ask Jimmy for a ride.” It seemed like a good idea, because I didn’t especially like driving and we did live close to each other. It would have probably taken him two or three minutes to get to my house. We could have alternated weekends or something.
Jimmy had a drug problem.
He had been addicted to pain pills. During most of the time I knew him, Jimmy was clean. He had struggled with his recovery and he was able to get some clean time together. Jimmy went to Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. He had a sponsor. He was even working on steps with his sponsor. During most of our breakfast hangouts, Jimmy seemed perfectly fine to me.
One day, I noticed something strange about Jimmy. He was sitting across from me at the table. The waitress had served our food. Omelettes, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast. All of us at the table started to eat our food. Jimmy just stared at his plate. He didn’t seem hungry. There was a strange look on his face. He seemed distant. At one point, I thought he might doze off and fall asleep at the table. He finally started nibbling at his food, but he didn’t seem hungry.
I noticed when he spoke, Jimmy was slurring his words a bit.
Of course, the first thing that came to mind was that he must have relapsed. If he had, it wouldn’t have been the first time. Jimmy had relapsed many times over the years. He told us many crazy stories. There were the clubs, the parties, the pain clinics. He said that all of the girls at the front desk knew him at the clinics. It was sad that Jimmy was struggling with his addiction again. Jimmy was also a doctor and he was under supervision by the state. I wondered if he was in trouble with his supervisors.
The next week, I drove up to the diner and stood outside, waiting for my friends to show up. It was a hot, Florida summer Sunday morning. I leaned against the metal railing, next to a wheelchair ramp leading up to the front of the restaurant.
Then, two of my friends walked over. It looked like they were talking about something important. I asked what was going on. Where was Jimmy? Was he coming this morning? Before I drove out, I thought about calling him. I was thinking of finally asking him for a ride so I wouldn’t have to drive. I didn’t want to bother him, so I drove myself that morning.
One of my friends looked at me and said, “You didn’t hear about Jimmy?
You don’t know what happened?” I hadn’t heard anything. What happened to him? Where was he? “Jimmy had an overdose”, my friend said. “he died. His family was expecting it. His wife is now fighting with his parents over the house.” Jimmy had taken out a second mortgage on his house to pay for drug treatment center admissions. So, he hadn’t really left anything behind for anyone.
Jimmy was gone. Overdose.
Honestly, I didn’t really know Jimmy that well. He was more of a friend of a friend. He was just part of the group that got together every Sunday morning for breakfast. My first thought when I heard the news was that I wasn’t going to be able to get a ride from him now. We were never going to get to be better friends. We would never hang out or run into each other at the local grocery store. He would never be at breakfast with the group again.
I can’t begin to imagine what Jimmy’s real family went through. The years of struggle with Jimmy and his disease of addiction. The tragedy of his sudden overdose death, unexpected and, at the same time, expected. One bad night of taking too much was the end of everything for Jimmy. There would be no more chances for him to turn it all around. No more Sunday morning omelettes with a side of toast and bacon. No more hanging out with friends. The world and all of the hope and possibilities of the future were over for him.
You can help to save lives and prevent opioid overdose
There are many sad and true stories out there that are very similar to this fictional story about an opioid overdose. There are online resources to find doctors who can treat opioid addiction. First, there is treatment match and, second, there is SAMHSA. Then, there are also other resources, such as suboxone.com. CVS is giving out Narcan (Naloxone) without a prescription. In Florida, you do not even need a prescription for this life saving medication. If you are in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County or South Florida, you may call 954-776-6226 for more information. So, please explore these online resources and learn more about available treatments for opioid dependence and addiction.