Fighting the Loss of Addiction with Love: One Nurse's Story

Kathryn and Amanda Morini
Kathyrn Morini, RN and her sister, Amanda

Kathyrn Morini, RN, (on the left in this picture) moved colleagues at the PAIN Education Day in February when she spoke of her sister Amanda’s (right) death due to an overdose. Morini is the author of the book “The Story of Red Tail Hawk”, which chronicles her sister’s decade-long battle with addiction. Morini donates 20 percent of any proceeds raised through book sales to various outlets of recovery and prevention.

Since losing my sister to an overdose, there have been times when I have felt peace for her, knowing that her struggles are over. I have felt sadness for the life she wanted. She never had opportunities I take for granted and even complain about sometimes. I have felt guilt that it happened to her and not me. I have felt frustrated at the help that others now have that she didn’t.....and then I feel horrid for thinking that.

I have felt heartache for my parents, who will never hold their youngest child in their arms again. I have felt fear that addiction will slither its way back in to my life, attack my children and creep into their future. I am afraid I won’t do enough to protect them, or others from all the evils that I unfortunately know all too well. Sometimes I feel like addiction and me are on a first name basis.

But, when I am feeling like this, defeated and frightened, I remember that the only way to guarantee we lose this war is to give up the battle. I think of my sister saying to me “don’t give up on me Kate, please don’t give up on me.” I look at my friends, their children, and our communities and I think of all the wonderful things that the future still holds for all of us.

I try to remember that we have seen tremendous growth in the last few years in the areas of education, prevention, treatment and accessibility to help. Stigmas are being torn down. Families are coming forward, sharing their stories so that barriers can be found and broken. Health care providers are finding new ways to handle the population of those who struggle with addiction. I’m not sure that we have seen so many strides for a single population of our community in years, if ever, before.

The work done so far gives me inspiration and focus to keep pushing for more. We have learned that pain is inevitable and coping is vital to survival in the modern world. We have seen recovery and we know that it is possible, and it will continue to be as long as there are people out there who are fighting for it. The doctors, nurses and first responders who work tirelessly to give people a second life, the lawmakers who are adjusting regulations and creating restrictions that never before were thought of, those with afflictions and mental health needs who are working to find solutions and take back control of their own life. To me those are heroes.

These are the reasons I continue to raise awareness and plead for prevention in our homes, communities and health care settings.This epidemic does not discriminate. It is very powerful and it affects us all. However, only we hold the power to decide if we will let it destroy us. I still believe we will overcome this and as long as I believe that, I will keep speaking in memory of my sister and the thousands of people we have lost simply because I feel it’s the right thing to do.

South Shore Health System is committed to reducing the number of opioid pills prescribed post-procedure to help stem the opioid crisis. Learn more about our Opioid Task Force.