Author: Shernide Delva
Would you bury yourself alive to raise awareness of drug addiction? One man just did that. A charity worker decided to spend an entire weekend buried underground to highlight the plight of people affected by the substance abuse problem.
Former drug addict, John Edwards, wanted to do something eye-opening to raise awareness for the addiction epidemic affecting people across the globe. Edwards decided to spend the entire weekend buried underground in a coffin to symbolize the grave outcome of this disease.
“It’s a way to reach more people,” Edwards explained. “When people first hear about the idea they are a bit surprised but when they hear about why they have a ‘eureka’ moment and love the idea.”
Edwards started the charity “Walking Free” after his personal experience with drug addiction, stints in rehab and homelessness.
He said: “I’ve had a liver transplant, cancer twice, 41 pints of blood transfused last year to keep me alive. Now I’m recovered from all illness and got my strength back. I’m determined to leave a legacy of hope.”
In order to complete the task, a team was on hand to support Edwards’ underground. He received food and water through a pipe, and a second tube was connected to a caravan toilet. The coffin measured at an 8ft long, 3.5ft high and 4ft wide.
While this act may seem extreme to most, the reality is the disease of addiction is taking lives away each day. Last year, statistics revealed that more people died from drug addiction than automobile accidents. The numbers only continue to get worse. The prescription painkiller epidemic means anyone can fall victim to this disease.
Edwards feels his burial will be an act of compassion for the many families and friends who lose loved ones to addiction. Statistics in the US reveal that every 15 minutes, someone dies from an overdose of drugs and alcoholism. The symbolism in Edward’s act is hard for anyone to ignore.
Drug Addiction Facts
Substance abuse is not limited to prescription opioids. While that is getting more attention lately due to the increase in prescription drug-related deaths, alcohol, and other drugs are still major problems.
- In 2014, almost 2 million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids.
- As many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long term for chronic pain ends up with addiction.
- Every day, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.
- Twenty-three million Americans age 12 or older suffer from alcohol and drug addiction.
- More than 15 million of those are dependent on alcohol, roughly 4 million are dependent on drugs, the rest are dependent on both.
Prevention Is Key
The key to combating drug addiction is preventing it before it starts. The act of burying serves as a way to raise awareness of the effects of long-term drug abuse. When laws and events like these are held, it prevents the prevalence of substance abuse long term.
Would you do something like this to raise awareness? Drug addiction is a serious disease affecting people worldwide. If you are struggling, you are not alone. The good news is treatments are available for you. Do not wait. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.