Processing Loss

The opioid epidemic provides us with an opportunity to have productive conversations about what we have personally and collectively lost.


For some Ohioans, opioids have contributed to the loss of the social foundations such as empathy, hope, safety, and connectivity. In health care settings, patients report losing access to medications, their physician’s support, and their trust in medicine. Educators have lost students and students have lost what they once believed to be bright futures. At the same time, some Ohioans have, in their coping and recovery, found tremendous hope in the face of loss. Loss left many Ohioans with no option but to try to locate something positive amidst the grief. 

The aim of the activity is to consider the role of empathy in the opioid epidemic, including understanding empathy's limits and developing strategies for maintaining empathy in challenging situations.
In this activity, participants read an excerpt from a prominent Ohio sports coach who shares his experiences working with youth affected by opioid addiction. In particular, this activity explores the intersection of athletics and pain.
How can we acknowledge and respond to the profound loss - understood expansively - experienced in the opioid epidemic? Participants will explore examples of despair and what our responsibility is to respond in the face of suffering.