Elaine Hudson sits down with PAIN founder Flindt Andersen on the “Don’t Hide the Scars” podcast. Hudson lost her son Frankie to an opioid overdose, and shared her experience in a recent episode. Photo contributed.
Written by Donald A. Promnitz
America may be dealing with a pandemic, but this has done nothing to change the fact the country is still gripped by opioid addiction.
In fact, Parents & Addicts In Need Founder and President Flindt Andersen said that if anything, the situation has only gotten worse. Boredom, anxiety and despair from the ongoing economic fallout have caused many to relapse. He’s had to talk clients down from the ledge himself.
“I had a young man in my office yesterday who was in one of our sober living houses, and he walked in and was that close to using,” Andersen said Friday. “Why? Boredom and isolation. Can’t go anywhere, can’t do anything — all meetings are shut down.”
However, Andersen and PAIN have recruited the assistance of their next-door neighbors and longtime associates at iHeart Radio in Fresno to open up a new front in the fight with painkillers and prescription abuse.
They’re doing it with their new podcast — Don’t Hide the Scars — which is hosted by PAIN’s Executive Director Darren Redmond. Episodes of Don’t Hide the Scars will typically run for an hour, with guest ranging from recovering addicts to family members who’ve lost loved ones to the epidemic, along with members of the local business community.
Both and Andersen and Redmond say the purpose of Don’t Hide the Scars is to start a conversation. Now, with a nationwide platform, they hope to address the issues of the opioid epidemic, the rise of deaths from fentanyl, and just who it is that’s being lost.
These people include youths who aren’t even “users.” One guest, for example, lost her son in Southern California when he borrowed a benzodiazepine from a friend so he could get a good night’s sleep before a job interview. What he didn’t realize was that the pill had been laced with a lethal dose of fentanyl.
“These are young people that come from good families, great backgrounds, and we’re losing them in their beds two doors down from mom and dad,” Andersen said. “We’re not losing them in the homeless camps that are under the 180 bridge.”
“If somebody listens to that, it doesn’t matter if they’re in St. Louis, it doesn’t matter if they’re in New York — they understand what the concept is,” Redmond said.
Don’t Hide the Scars is available on the iHeart Radio app. New episodes are uploaded weekly no later than Tuesday.