Brain Injury Alliance Issues Statement of Shared Grief and Thanks for Etheridge and Cypher Families
Like the rest of the world, we were shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic passing of Beckett Cypher at the age of 21. The loss his family has suffered is devastating beyond words. Even more devastating is the fact that it is a path of sorrow that thousands of families will be on this year as we lose an average of 130 people a day- who are loved and cherished by their families just as Beckett was- to opioid overdose.
While our hearts are heavy with sorrow, we would like to thank the Etheridge and Cypher families for being so open about Beckett’s struggles during this time. Beckett’s difficulty with opioid addiction does NOT define who he was as a person. While the families easily could have chosen this as a moment of privacy, and they would have every right to do so, they instead threw a life preserver to every family who is still desperately fighting, clawing, and praying to save a loved one from addiction.
Their openness and honesty will save lives by moving the conversation forward and reminding us that addiction in some ways can be a great equalizer. It knows no zip codes, skin color, age, doesn’t care if everyone knows your name and does not care if you have a degree from a fancy college. The hurt, devastation, and end-result of death can be the same. By shining light on the families and those struggling with substances, it gives us hope that we can move the conversation in a new direction. A direction where families find a helping hand instead of shame and stigma. This is specifically of interest to us in the disability community, as ongoing pain management can be a particularly precarious issue. Many of those who sustain an injury are prescribed powerful painkillers. Nearly 70% of those admitted to the hospital for head injury are discharged with an opioid prescription.
The Brain Injury Alliance would like to remind those in Arizona that our Opioid Response Team is here if you have questions about pain management after accident, illness or injury, or if you need resources for recovery programs and treatment centers. The Brain Injury Alliance offers free counseling and a virtual support group for family members impacted by substance use. We also have military family and veteran peer support.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or text 520-310-3301 for more info.
Last month the Alliance issued a COVID-19 REDUCED TOLERANCE ALERT aimed at preventing OVERDOSE RELATED BRAIN INJURIES. If a person is taking no or fewer drugs than usual (perhaps due to the pandemic) and then regains access and takes what was once their normal amount, it could easily result in overdose. Opioid overdose reduces or stops oxygen flow to the brain, which can result in brain injury or death. READ MORE HERE >>
Please stay safe and don’t hesitate to reach out if we can be of assistance.
Carrie Collins-Fadell, MPA
Executive Director, Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona
ABOUT BRAIN INJURY ALLIANCE OF ARIZONA
The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ) is the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of adults and children with all types of brain injuries through prevention, advocacy, awareness, and education. BIAAZ also houses the Arizona Brain Health Resource Center, a collection of educational information and neuro-specific resources for brain injury survivors, caregivers, family members, and professionals.
What began in 1983 as a grassroots effort has grown into a strong statewide presence, providing valuable life-long resources and community support for individuals with all types of brain trauma at no charge.
The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona:
- Works with the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force
- Houses Arizona Brain Health Resource Center
- Hosts the Statewide Opioid Use Disorder & Cognitive Impairment Workgroup
- Deploys a Statewide Opioid Use Disorder & Cognitive Impairment Response Team with peer support, training and family wraparound services
- Facilitates the Brain Health Advisory Council
- Manages a Statewide Neuro Info-Line 888-500-9165
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