Witnessing firsthand and personally experiencing too many of those aforementioned harmful effects in my life manifests deep pain and empathy for people, which is a pivotal reason for choosing to help others. A dominant universal goal regarding all spiritual realms is to mitigate pain and suffering. Caring for individuals working as an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse constantly makes me question, “Is there something we as a community, society, nation, and global enterprise can do to help prevent these tragic fatalities?” Tears of compassion and frustration well up and trickle down an anguished face, while contemplating the horrors that families of these loved ones face and endure.

“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized that I was somebody” (Lily Tomlin). Can such tragedies be averted? Young teenagers and adults are too often admitted for heroin overdoses with irreversible anoxic brain injuries, while ventilators keep their bodies alive as the brain swells, crushing parts of the cerebrum or spinal cord ending in brain death. All four extremities spastically and uncontrollably jerk up and down with both eyes transiently shooting open seemingly bulging from their skulls as their necrotic viscera pour out. Paralytics are administered because families do not need to witness such horror. Others drink themselves silly, which leads to irreversible pancreatitis or hepatic destruction, culminating in multisystem organ failure and subsequent death.

Even today, visualizing and feeling the glowing warmth, energy, kindness, and friendly smile radiating from a fellow high school classmate’s face 20 years later is poignantly palpable. His abundant energy, radiant countenance, joy, and ability to make others laugh was contagious. He made the tragic decision to try heroin one time, which ended his short life. Let’s decide to help others make better choices by making them for ourselves first.

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