Today, on the one-year anniversary of her son’s overdose death, Shatterproof Ambassador Julie Labinski testified in the Wisconsin State Legislature in support of new addiction legislation rooted in compassion, science, and saving lives.
Here is her complete testimony.
My name is Julie Labinski and I am from Horicon, Wisconsin.
Imagine this. I came home from a wonderful vacation with one of my daughters. By the time we made it home from the airport it was about 1130 pm. and my husband tells me my worst nightmare had come true. He proceeds to tell me that about an hour earlier two sheriffs had come to the door to share the news that they found my son, Alec, dead from a suspected overdose. I had worried, fought, cried over the notion of this even being a possibility for years and it now became a reality. So on January 8, 2019, 365 days ago at 7:17 PM, my son was pronounced dead. I have thought for several weeks what to do to honor him on an anniversary that no one wants to celebrate. When I read about the HOPE legislation, I knew this was how I was supposed to honor his memory.
Alec suffered with addiction for about 6 years. His started with a prescription for pain medication following a very minor surgery. These are his words describing how he became addicted.
“The doctor decided to give me 60 Percocet for post-surgery pain. When I told him I was also feeling a little depressed and had begun drinking more heavily he decided to throw in a prescription for some Ativan and Klonopin. When that ran out, I realized heroin was easy to get and was addicted in days. All it took was one crappy day with one ill-timed prescription to become addicted.”
Alec was incredibly intelligent, kind, funny and a friend to everyone. He could strike up a conversation with anyone he crossed paths with. He was my son, my first born, my protector. To explain to anyone how it feels to lose a child is impossible. The grief is immeasurable. Had he had options like ones proposed in the HOPE legislation his path may have been to positive change instead of a path that ended his life.
The options to many who suffer from this disease are not adequate and limiting. When Alec had insurance more treatment options were available, but when that was no longer an option I believe that’s when he lost hope and turned to the only means he knew to help him escape the reality of his addiction. Drugs.
I am here because I can’t re-write my story but the Wisconsin HOPE legislation has the potential to change the lives of many. I am urging you to explore any means possible to support people suffering from this debilitating disease.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration for Wisconsin’s HOPE legislation. Please remember addiction does not discriminate and every person lost to this disease is someone else’s loved one.