Amanda Stibbs
Emergency Medical Technician, Berlin, Wis.

“I am an  emergency medical technician. When I hear the word ‘addict,’ the first thing that comes to my mind is the negative thought, but I’m trying to learn how to think in their terms and not so much the stigma of addiction. I’m trying to think of it more in terms of how to help these people, and how we can turn the stigma around. I’m affected by addiction just due to responding to these calls. I come from a rural community so overdoses tend to come in fluctuation, so there aren’t a ton and then we’ll have one every day of the week. I personally know people that are affected by the opioid crisis, old childhood friends. I do know enough people in my community, especially with it being rural, that are affected by the overdoses. Seeing it over and over, you almost get kind of used to the outcomes of them. Unfortunately, we’re not always able to revive everybody. So you do see a lot of deaths due to overdoses, but it’s great to see when we can revive people and get them help that they need and see the stories that they can share of recovery. When people place the blame on others, it just shows that everybody needs to be a little bit more selfless and be willing to help and be willing to be open-minded to the fact that everybody has their own problems, and everybody has their own challenges, and we all deal with them in different ways.”