Sharing Stories of Love, Grief and Hope from the Opioid Crisis

Almost everyone today knows someone affected by opioid-use disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 130 people die in the United States every day as a result of overdosing on opioids — and that number doesn’t capture the many other ways that this disease kills those who suffer from it.

More often than not, losing a loved one in this way can be an isolating experience. People often feel uncomfortable acknowledging addiction. Obituaries rarely mention it as a cause of death. That’s one reason it’s so hard to calculate the human cost of the opioid epidemic — it’s largely invisible.

To change that, Burlington, Vt.-based newsweekly Seven Days has created “All Our Hearts,” an online memorial project. It documents the lives of those who are no longer with us and the people they touched.

Video: Families Make Memorial Heart Stones

A group of family members who have shared their stories of love and loss on this website gathered in Burlington, Vt. recently to turn 200 balls of clay into heart-shaped stones. The group traded memories, stamped stones with allourhearts.com and personalized them with the names of their daughters, sons and sisters. The stones will be handed out to the public at an All Our Hearts event on December 8 at Generator in Burlington. Organizers hope that the stones will spread the message far and wide that opioid-use disorder affects everyone and those who are suffering from it are loved.