On August 31st, the International Overdose Awareness Day, HOPS – Healthy Options Project Skopje launched an internet action for sharing overdose experiences. The testimonies were not many, however the action attracted significant attention for a fitting celebration of the day and raising awareness on drug overdose. Bellow are few of the testimonies of people who bravely and publically revealed their feelings about victims of the institutional indifference on drug overdose.
|“My young neighbour passed away from overdose. He grew up with my children and was always peculiar and special with all his virtues and flaws. I can’t reveal his name because his parents attempted to hide the agony he was going through to the very end. Rest in peace little neighbour!”
|“Let us share and remember all those we have lost. At the time, the first victim of overdose was a friend of mine, who unfortunately didn’t get to turn 25 years but he was a talented musician and played the guitar very good. The first victim of heroin in Kumanovo… Rest in peace Bane… Afterwards we lost several more friends to overdose. Some from heroin, some from alcohol, or a combination, the last case was alcohol and pills… That’s how I lost my friend, half a year ago, we went through a lot together, my best friend from school, we served army together, we drank together and did drugs together, we went through a lot… It was Monday, he dropped by my place after work to see me and asked if he could come on Saturday for a coffee, to which I said yes, but still I asked him to call me before, just to check that I hadn’t gone out… He said, “screw you, if you’re not here, I’ll have coffee with your parents,” that was so like him, his style… And then on Thursday, somewhere around noon, the telephone rang. It was an old friend, and she started asking questions about him, going round in circles, but when she realized I had no idea what she was talking about, she told me straight upfront that she heard he had died. I couldn’t believe it, I knew it must have been a lie, a gossip started by evil minds, yet, it turned out I was wrong. I couldn’t sit still, so I called his brother, who, sadly, confirmed the news… They found him in the morning, before he got up for work. We knew it was an overdose, although there were all types of rumours going round, like he overdosed on alcohol and pills, which might be the truth… I cursed him at the funeral in myself, and promised we will drink that coffee when we meet in a better place! I won’t write his name, I won’t, but he will always be in my thoughts and I will always remember him…
Respect for all we have lost. #HOPS #OverdosedayMacedonia“
|“I would like to share something. I have lost at least 10 acquaintances, and one or two very close friends. I will never forget the day when we lost my best friend’s sister. We all had known for quite a while about the problem, she wouldn’t leave home, she was always in, constantly on medication. I vividly remember the day we went to his place, all cheerful. She was waiting for us at the door. She begged us to let her out, promising she would come back quickly. She might have begged us for just a few seconds or hours, we were both teenagers, we didn’t know any better, we yielded to her begging. I might be just justifying my actions but I truly believe we couldn’t have stopped her anyway. My last memory of her is running to catch a taxi to go her last fix. This image, those moments are stamped in my memory, I can never get rid of them.
But I don’t want to remember her like that. I want to remember her for her brilliance, her beautiful smile, loud as a thousand bells! I want to remember her for her beauty, her lust for life, for happiness. I remember how she used to sing at the top of her lungs Toshe’s songs, how she used to always play his “The Sun in Your Fair Hair.” Irina, you were something special, something beautiful in this world. People around you never understood you, you let love lead your way and did everything from your heart! I miss you Irina. I know you are probably looking at us from above, laughing at us, at the adventures we have with your brother, our new lives as parents. I miss you Irina… I’ll see you when destiny joins us together again. Say hi to my friend Abaz, a great man. See you there. It is very lonely without you here.