Fix Contributor Urges Parents of Overdose Victims To Send Handwritten Notes To Trump

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Fix Contributor Urges Parents of Overdose Victims To Send Handwritten Notes To Trump

By Beth Leipholtz 02/21/18

In her own letter to Trump, MaryBeth Cichocki encouraged the president to meet with parents who have lost children due to overdoses.

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MaryBeth Cichocki
Activist and mother MaryBeth Cichocki has dedicated her life to raising awareness about addiction.

In an effort to bring President Trump’s attention to the importance of treating substance use disorder, mothers across the country have been sending handwritten letters, stories and photos to the White House, according to Delaware Online

MaryBeth Cichocki is one of those mothers—in fact, she is the one who started the movement in Delaware. In 2016, she lost her 37-year-old son, Matt, to a fatal overdose. 

"It breaks my heart that my son died of a treatable disease that the system has made a terminal disease," Cichocki told Delaware Online. "I don't know how that's allowed to happen in our country."

Cichocki posted on Facebook, encouraging other Delaware parents to join her in sending Valentine’s Day cards to Trump’s office. She says these cards carry a different meaning than traditional Valentines. 

“Please send a picture of your child with a note telling your story of disappointment in the lack of action by the new administration,” she wrote on Facebook. “Trump must understand that he might be foolish enough to think he can turn his back on our kids and on those who still suffer from SUD (substance use disorder) but we will never be silenced.”

In 2016, 308 people in Delaware died due to overdoses, according to the Washington Times. Across the U.S. as a whole, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there were more than 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016, and the number is expected to be higher for 2017.

Recently, Delaware Online reports, the state Department of Health and Social Services announced it will treat 900 new patients in the next year through the use of community hubs that will utilize peer recovery coaches to help those struggling with substance use disorder. 

In her letter, Cichocki encouraged the president to meet with parents who have lost children due to overdoses. She said that parents in such situations know the difficulties of dealing with insurance and other obstacles. 

"You really need to talk to us who are on the front lines of saving our children's lives," she said, referring to Trump. 

She plans to keep sharing her son’s story until something changes. "To not fight back would mean that it's OK,"  Cichocki told Delaware Online. “That it's OK that this happened to him... I have to try to get our president's attention."

Cichocki is a blog contributor for The Fix. Her work can be found at www.thefix.com/bio/marybeth-cichocki.  

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