%22It's likely that everybody knows somebody who is struggling with this very problem.

Noah has fond memories of his childhood and the close relationship he shared with his father, Rick. His dad lived life to the fullest and he was a loved and respected member of the beauty and personal care industry. He worked hard and enjoyed his leisure time entertaining colleagues and friends. Noah describes a belt that his dad used to wear that was inscribed with the phrase, “Too fast to live, too young to die,” as a way to describe his father’s passion for life. Noah was aware that his father’s social lifestyle involved drinking and cigarettes, but it never seemed to be in excess. Noah and his brother felt no cause for concern at first, but they began to notice pills missing from their own opioid prescriptions for their back pain and dental work. Noah and his brother weren’t sure their father was to blame, and they didn’t feel that they could address the missing pills with him. In addition, they didn’t think that he was showing outward signs of drug abuse or addiction.

Rick also suffered from an autoimmune disease called scleroderma, which negatively impacts the functioning of the kidneys, lungs, and heart. He was hospitalized in his mid-fifties after suffering minor strokes, and although the doctors weren’t sure what had caused his stroke and collapse, opioids were found in his system while at the hospital. He received further treatment for the autoimmune disease, which seemed to be a turning point for a healthier lifestyle. However, two years later, Rick was found unconscious in his home with opioids in his system. This time he would not recover. Rick died in the hospital at age 58.

Noah regrets not challenging his father about his addiction and wishes he and his family had known about the risks of prescription opioids and had spoken up sooner.

Learn more about opioid misuse and overdose, data, and prevention resources at CDC’s Opioid Overdose website.

Learn more about opioid data and resources.