By: Kali Fields, Director, Grassroots Advocacy
Marietta Hagan wears many hats within her Missouri community. Whether she is educating parents on signs of drug misuse, working with schools on prevention efforts or encouraging efficient naloxone distribution, Marietta is a trusted resource.
She leads Drug Free Ozarks in the Sink or Swim initiative to build awareness of the issues of substance use disorders and act as a community resource. Seeing both the heartbreak and resiliency of individuals suffering with a substance use disorder, she has a passion for serving her community. One inspiring story Marietta has shared with Voices is of a young woman named Al who was prescribed opioids to manage pain following a work injury. This led to a spiral of dependency and addiction, leading Al to turn to illicit drugs. In her testimonial on the Drug Free Ozarks website, she describes how she lost custody of her children and control of her life, but ultimately ended up finding effective treatment and living life in recovery for over five years now.
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon story. Every year, nearly 3 million patients become newly persistent opioid users following a surgical procedure, and in 2017, 191 million opioids were prescribed—totaling 58.7 prescriptions per 100 people. We are flooding our communities with highly addictive pain medications. If we are ever going to eradicate the opioid epidemic, we must reduce the number of opioids prescribed to manage acute pain—especially when there are effective and non-addictive alternatives available. That is why Marietta is working with Voices for Non-Opioid Choices to educate her legislators on the importance of having access to non-opioid treatments and medications. The Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN Act) is a small change that will have vital effects, not only in Missouri but across the country.
Drug Free Ozark’s Firsthand Stories gives voices to many others that struggle with addiction. Their real-life experiences remind anyone struggling that they CAN make it through, as well as reduce the stigma associated with substance use within the community.
When we work together in our communities, powerful change can happen. Marietta encourages folks in the region looking for a place to turn to check out not only Drug Free Ozarks, but also:
No sustainable change can happen overnight, but the dedication and resiliency Marietta has shown her community makes us believe anything is possible. We must continue to work together to prevent addiction before it starts. Please check out Marietta’s work and Drug Free Ozarks to learn more about opioid prevention, community resources and how to reduce stigma.
Take Action to help Voices, and advocates like Marietta, pass the NOPAIN Act here.
 Brummett CM, Waljee JF, Goesling J, et al. New Persistent Opioid Use After Minor and Major Surgical Procedures in US Adults. JAMA Surg. 2017;152(6):e170504. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0504