MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A single car was left in the middle of the road in the 6300 block of busy Poplar Avenue after two men reportedly overdosed and were taken to Saint Francis Hospital.
One woman says traffic came to a standstill out there as the two men lay on the ground with a crowd of people gathered around them. Someone in that crowd likely saved the lives of the two by calling an ambulance for help.
“It’s devastating. It feels like as a country, as a state, as a city … it feels like we’re failing our young people, and we’re seeing more and more of this pop up,” said Brian Sullivan, the public relations director at Turning Point, a recovery center for people struggling with substance abuse, addiction or mental health issues.
Sullivan said nearby DeSoto county leads the state of Mississippi in overdosed deaths.
“We have to focus on tackling this as a public health crisis. It’s a health crisis, not a crime spree; we can’t arrest our way out of it, we can’t shame our way out of it … the only thing we can do to help is prevention and evidence-based treatment.”
Turning Point also has a mobile crisis unit and onsite assessments.
“Another thing that we’ve done to help with aftercare. We developed a balanced-life curriculum to help keep people in engaged in their areas of work and finances, social and spirituality to keep them involved in active recovery.”
Sullivan says most of their clients get addicted to opioids after injury, using them first as a painkiller before abusing the drug.
“No wakes up one day and says I want to be an addict. So it hurts me that our young people are going through this and they face insurmountable odds,” he said. “I want them to know they can come here.”
If you or a loved one needs help, call Turning Point’s hotline at 1-888-614-2251 or go to turningpointtreatment.org.