When the woman walked into the Natick Police Department, she brought two things with her: baked goods and a letter.
Both were to say thank you to the first responders who saved her life.
“I overdosed for the last time in August,” she wrote in the letter. “It was a major wake up call. I went to detox the next day and haven’t used since. Due to you guys saving my live through CPR and Narcan I got my life back!”
The woman went on to share what that meant for her. Since her recovery, she has kept a steady job and regained custody of her daughter.
“I actually am able to say I love myself and who I am,” she wrote. “I got my family back, and they allow me to live with them, also have earned their trust back. Today I celebrate five months sober!”
Natick police Lt. Cara Rossi told Boston.com that the gesture made by the woman a couple weeks ago touched the officers involved — that they were given the opportunity to interact with her in a positive way. The department spokeswoman shared a photo of the letter on Facebook on Tuesday.
“This makes it all worthwhile,” she wrote.
Rossi said she hoped that by sharing the positive moment, it might reach and make a difference to someone also struggling with substance use, spreading the message that no one should give up.
The post has gotten shares across the country, with comments cheering both the department and the letter-writer for persistence in the face of the opioid epidemic.
“The response has been so overwhelmingly positive,” Rossi said. “It’s so unbelievable to me.”
The public safety community has worked hard to embrace the opioid epidemic as a public health crisis, working to break down the stigma associated with addiction and substance use, she said.
But even though the Natick department may be beyond the stereotypes of addiction, Rossi said she still hears people questioning why so much attention and resources are focused on helping those suffering in the crisis.
“This just shows why and I’m hoping that it will change a lot of minds … that these people who need us are worth it,” she said of the letter and the response to it.
That so many people are reacting to the letter emphasizes how there’s “not a single person who hasn’t been impacted in one way, shape, or form” by the opioid crisis, the lieutenant said.
“It’s all of our problem to try and help,” she said.
Read the letter below: