Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) September 30, 2013
As the death toll from the opioid epidemic climbs, grief turns to action at FED UP! Rally in D.C.
Steve Rummler was a successful financial planner and musician from Minnesota who was about to get married when he died of his addiction to prescription painkillers. Emily Jackson was a Chicago 18-year-old with her whole life ahead of her when she took her uncle’s pain medication, unaware of its potential to kill. Michael Israel, formerly of Buffalo, N.Y., was just 20 years old when he shot himself in desperation, unable to kick the painkiller medley that had been prescribed for his Crohn’s disease.
The family and friends of Steve, Emily and Michael are among legions who have lost loved ones to the nation’s painkiller and heroin epidemic, which now kills more than 16,600 a year. They are bereaved, anguished, and broken-hearted.
They are also FED UP!
In a call to action, hundreds will rally Tuesday October 1, noon to 2 p.m., in Upper Senate Park in Washington, D.C.
"Over the past decade more than 125,000 Americans have lost their lives from opioid painkiller overdoses," said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, chief medical officer at Phoenix House and President of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. "This is the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history, yet the response from some federal agencies has been weak and tragically ineffective."
Rally organizers and participants are calling for immediate, coordinated and comprehensive federal action to end the epidemic, including moving hydrocodone products from Schedule III to Schedule II and ensuring that the millions of people who have become addicted are able to access effective treatment.
The FED UP! Rally will feature the voices of many who have lost loved ones to the epidemic. Here are just a few of them.
Avi Israel, Save the Michaels of the World: "My son was taking Vicodin prescribed to him with refills by a doctor who thought he was helping him. It’s the most abused prescription drug in the country but the FDA allows it to remain in a category for drugs with low abuse potential. And the FDA refuses to cooperate with other government agencies that want to fix this problem. My son and many others might be alive today if the FDA had done its job."
Peter Jackson, Advocates for the Reform of Prescription Opioids: "The stunning correlation between the sales of opioids and overdose deaths, and the quadrupling of both in the past decade, implicates overprescribing as the primary cause of the opioid epidemic. We are losing our loved ones because the medical community and the public are underestimating risks. The reality is that one pill can kill."
Judy Rummler, Steve Rummler Hope Foundation: After our son died, we found a note among his things in which he wrote of his struggle with chronic pain and his addiction to the prescribed medications that were supposed to help him, saying: ‘At first it was a lifeline. Now it is a noose around my neck.’ We are determined to fight for changes that will protect other families from the heartbreak we have experienced."
The October 1 FED UP! Rally has the backing of a broad coalition of advocacy organizations and foundations from across the United States. Sponsors of the event include Transforming Youth Recovery, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, Phoenix House, Gosnold on Cape Cod, Hazelden, and Father Martin's Ashley.
Media Contact: Judy Rummler, Chair, FED UP! Rally Steering Committee
925-935-7714 or 612-865-1754 (cell)