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49,000 people died in 2017 from opioid overdoses. This number does not include people like my sister, who died a week ago tonight not from an overdose but a staph infection that bloomed throughout her body as a result of IV drug use. The term opioid epidemic has been used to the point of non-meaning, and the response to it has been equally meaningless. But this is what the opioid epidemic looks like. It has freckles and a dimple on its right cheek. It is 30 years old and has a singing voice so beautiful people stop in the street to listen. It has a son, two sisters, a mother and a father. Its name is Madelyn Ellen Linsenmeir. This is what the opioid epidemic looks like. ——————————————— There’s a link to Maddie’s obituary in my bio if you’d like to read it; a memorial service for her will take place Sunday, October 21, at 2:00 at the First Unitarian Universalist Society sanctuary at the top of Church Street in Burlington.