The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines advocacy in this way… The act or process of supporting a cause or proposal:
When City of Angels began in 2008, with the tragic overdose death of KC Meara, we never considered that much of what we were about to do would actually be called advocacy, as we just wanted to help people get help. Very quickly we came to realize that the opioid epidemic was growing exponentially and we needed support from other parents, medical professionals, law enforcement, people in recovery, our legislators and the community in general.
We learned that Advocacy means getting support from another person to help you express your views and wishes, and help you stand up for your rights. Someone who helps you in this way is called your advocate and COA certainly needed more advocates!
We set out to tell the story, our story, of the opioid epidemic’s impact on our kids, our families and our community. We began speaking at meetings, in schools, at church groups and forums. We began contacting anyone who we thought would listen and in the beginning it was difficult, as the stigma was astounding. We heard comments like “well I’d like to help, but these kids did this to themselves you know” and “she is an addict and this is an ER. we have to help the people who really need it.” Eventually more and more people began to be impacted and so more people started to listen…