When someone calls 911 in Manatee County in regard to an overdose, Manatee County sends a fire truck, an ambulance and at least 2 police cars. These responders are dedicated to saving that persons life! After they are revived, they are handed a Your Life Matters Card. As they sit in the back of that ambulance they see “your life matters”, they make it to the hospital and into a room where they sit all by themselves. They see “your life matters”, eventually they start to reflect on what just happened they see “your life matters”, and eventually they start to believe that their life does matter. Then they do something powerful, they turn the card over!
It's the first decision they made on their own that was not controlled by their addiction, it may seem like a small decision but it’s forward progression. Addicts are being controlled by an addiction and their life is centered on getting their fix so they don't have to feel the sickness of withdraw. Every thought, feeling, and emotion is filtered trough that addiction. Until they make a decision to turn the card over. It's a decision that's led by the thought maybe my life does matter. It’s a decision in the opposite direction, a decision not based on an addiction but a decision to get off an addiction. I don't know about you but to me that is powerful!
Once that the card is turned over and they see those numbers my hope and prayer is that they use Newtons Law of Motion and make another small decision to make a phone call. Which is followed by another decision to go to the treatment facility and so on. Not only did we inspire them to get help, we made it easy to do so!
When we created the card we had no idea it would make the impact that is has. As of the end of the year (2018) we have distributed over 70,000 Your Life Matters Cards, in Manatee County. All of our first responder vehicles (fire truck, ambulance, police car etc.) has Your Life Matters Cards to hand out to anyone wanting information on treatment facilities in their area. The Your Life Matters Cards are also given to everyone discharged from jail incarcerated due to a drug charge.
When we began this journey in 2015 there was little to no wait to get into a treatment facility, then we began to distribute the Your Life Matters Cards. Now our local treatment facilities are full of addicts seeking treatment. We are not saying that the Your Life Matters Cards are the only reason why, but they are a huge part! With the success of the cards in Manatee County is it possible it could be successful across the state of Florida or the United States? To my knowledge there isn't another program out there that inspires addicts to take the next step, physically putting live saving information in their hands. It doesn't get any easier than that!
This all started with an idea to create a simple card, but sometimes the simple things can have the greatest impact!
-Michael Dunn, Firefighter & Founder