Losing a Loved One to Drug Overdose

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, August 21, 2023

Drug overdose is a major cause of death in America, with over 100,000 deaths annually, according to the CDC. When you lose a loved one to an overdose, there can be a lot of mixed feelings surrounding them. This article will discuss the challenges of coping with a loss due to an overdose. 

Addiction and Your Loved One

Many people who suffer from overdose first deal with addiction. Substance abuse and addiction often go hand in hand. It is important to understand that addiction is a disease; and one that can be incredibly challenging to overcome. Over the last few years, a vast array of studies have increased our understanding of addiction. For more information about studies related to addiction, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s website.

Guilt and “Not Doing Enough” 

It is common for loved ones to feel guilt after a loved one passes from an overdose. It can be easy to kick yourself for not doing enough, or not seeing the signs of substance abuse. But, you should understand that substance abuse is something that is often hidden away. In many cases, the family of the deceased is not aware of the situation, or its scope. Acceptance of the circumstances may take some time, but beating yourself up over something that was ultimately not in your control won’t help you find solace. Consider looking into support groups for those who have lost loved ones to drug abuse. For more resources, visit the Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing (GRASP) website.

More Than Their Addiction

There is a lot of stigma surrounding drug abuse and addiction. But the way your loved one died should not define how they are remembered. They were loved and valued. Look towards the positive aspects of their life. While it is important to acknowledge the circumstances of their death, they should be remembered for more than just that. 

Substance Abuse and Your Family

After experiencing a substance abuse loss, it is common to worry about your other loved ones. Substance abuse is a major issue across the country. The loss of a loved one can be a learning experience for others who may be struggling with substance abuse. If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance abuse problem, consider visiting the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website, or calling their National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are a number of resources out there. For our Grief Resource Center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here

For over 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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