Salt Lake Speaks

EP 38 - The Opioid Epidemic

March 27, 2018

The morning of November 11, 2016 began like any other Friday morning for Charla Bocchicchio. She woke up to her alarm going off and was ready to get out of bed for an early morning yoga practice to kick off her weekend. And just like the rest of us, she grabbed her phone to see what she might have missed during the sleeping hours of the night. But unlike the rest of us, she found a throng of missed calls and text messages from her ex-husband, Chris Cochran, including a daunting notification: “Cassidy Aspen Cochran was born June 22, 1994.” Without hesitating Bocchicchio quickly called Cochran to hear the thing every parent dreads to hear; “She’s gone, Cassidy’s gone, she’s dead.”

Cassidy, only 22 years old, had passed away of an opioid overdose. High does of fentanyl had been found in her system by the medicinal examiner. Cassidy and her boyfriend Frank thought they were taking heroin, but it ended up being something more lethal.

Across the nation, fentanyl is now the fifth most common drug involved in overdose deaths. Counterfeit pills are common on the street, but with fentanyl, one person may take a fake pill and use it and the next person make take the pill and die almost instantly. In Cassidy’s case, according to the medical examiner, she unknowingly injected a lethal dose of it.

In 2016, more Americans died of drug overdose than died in the Vietnam War. Two-thirds of those overdose deaths were from opioids. The opioid addiction is on the rise and is being referred to as an epidemic, but yet it has still not been declared a public health crisis by the Utah Legislature.

Joining us today is Cassidy’s mother Charla Bocchicchio to help spread awareness about the opioid epidemic by sharing Cassidy’s story.

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