Addiction. It’s a non-discriminatory disease. It doesn’t care who you are or anything like that.
‘The more that people can do to understand that and show love and compassion, the more success the loved one struggling with the addiction has in overcoming it.’
How can somebody go back and relapse when they know that there’s a chance that it will kill them because they’ve been sober? They told me, ‘we don’t think it would happen to us.’
Matt and Megan would want people to know that it can happen to you. It can happen to anyone.”
Two Peas in a Pod Gone Too Soon
After losing both of their children to the opioid pandemic, our caring Eterneva customer, Liz, and her family were driven to take action to prevent this tragedy from happening to other families.
“Matt and Megan were both extremely caring and compassionate and sensitive people. They will be remembered for the real people they were, not when they were under the control of their addict.”
Matt and his little sister Megan were two peas in a pod. They were connected at the hip. He always looked out for her… he was the big brother protector. From the minute she was born, Matt just adored her.
Megan was very outgoing but stubborn and headstrong. She was very passionate and stood up for her convictions. She was so much fun to be around, very insightful and intuitive. She had a good fashion sense and things like that that people really were drawn to.
Matt was extremely intelligent, very bright, very, very book smart, but also very sensitive (a common trait among people affected by this disease). He was very compassionate, extroverted and very social… the life of the party.
They were both leaders in their own right and people wanted to participate and do things with them. They loved doing things outdoors, always enjoying the beach or hiking.
“I think one of the funny things was that they had their own little inner language, and they had this little word between them. They thought it was hilarious and it would drive everybody else crazy.”
To remember Matt and Megan, Liz and her family grew memorial diamonds with Eterneva, so that they can move forward with their sparkle as they work to remove the stigma of addiction and spread awareness with their organization, the Last Overdose.
Growing Diamonds of Awareness with The Last Overdose
At the Last Overdose, their mission is clear and so very important.
“We will put an end to this American created crisis in honor of all of our youth who fought the tough addiction fight but lost the battle. We owe this to them to keep their legacy alive and prevent their death from being in vain. We can do better for our children and they deserve it.”
To begin fulfilling this mission, their team has swiftly established the Megan and Matthew Szabo Endowed Excellence Fund at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work. The funds distributed from this endowment will support social work students in field placements in the areas of addiction and mental health.
They work to inform people on the truth of the opioid crisis and build awareness on what addiction really is and how it should be treated.
“Addiction is a degenerative physical disease of the brain — plain and simple. However, it can be treated and the damage reversed through sustained abstinence, which requires a professional diagnosis to establish a custom treatment plan specific for each individual — one size does not fit all. It is a disease just like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, hepatitis and autism, etc. Nobody wants a disease. However, if contracted, it is an illness that requires treatment. Similar to diabetes and heart disease, it is also preventable. And, everybody deserves to receive appropriate treatment for their disease.”
Substance use disorder can impact ANYONE. It is non-discriminatory. On the Last Overdose, everyone can learn more on the truth about addiction, along with:
- Warning signs someone might be dealing with an opioid problem,
- What to do if you suspect your loved one may have a substance use disorder,
- How you can help and get involved.
New provisional data released by the Federal government estimates that nearly 108,000 people died from drug overdoses from January to December 2021, which is about a 15% increase from the number of deaths in 2020 (around 94,000), according to Farida Ahmad, a research scientist with the Center for Disease Control and Preventions.
The trend is going the wrong direction and there is still much to be done. It’s hard to fathom how many families have been impacted by addiction. You can read more about the statistics involved in this crisis on the Last Overdose.
Moving Forward with Their Love 💗
“I talk to them every day. I go for a walk and I talk to them while I'm walking the dog. During the holidays I make their favorite dish. I burn candles. Megan was a big candle lover. I have lavender around the house. I planted flowers and trees that they liked in the yard and I spend time making sure that those are taken care of. Megan also loved the redwoods and so I like to go for hikes as well.”
While Matt and Megan’s love will stay with their family through all of the good memories, and their presence will be remembered with every sparkle of their diamonds, no one should have to lose a loved one like this or struggle with addiction alone.
Matt and Megan sparkle as diamonds as reminders to show love and compassion to others every day. We may never know what someone else may be dealing with and who may need some gentle kindness.
This Overdose Awareness Day, we want to acknowledge and honor those living with addiction as well as those who have been affected by a loved one with addiction. You are so very loved and you deserve love, support, happiness and peace.