“North Carolina has the second-fastest rising rates of overdose in the country,” notes Hillary Brown of the Steady Collective, which uses advocacy, education and direct services to reduce the rate of drug overdoses and the spread of infectious diseases. “This year, we’re trying to help folks feel that they have more resources.
“There is a lot of scarcity in terms of treatment here,” says Brown. “A lot of folks served by the Steady Collective are homeless or precariously housed, don’t have insurance and aren’t covered by Medicaid or Medicare.” And for Brown, having a challenging and sometimes gut-wrenching job can make it hard to find time for self-care.
“Folks who are first responders during this overdose crisis are experiencing a lot of burnout nationwide,” notes Brown. “I have gotten a bunch of acupuncture, and I’ve had some friends make tinctures in the last few months to help me deal with the stress and grief associated with this work.” So in 2019, Brown wants to remember that prioritizing one’s own health is essential to improving the health of the greater community. “If you aren’t well and taken care of, you can’t contribute much to the work.”