Concord Fire Chief Dan Andrus On Opioid Overdoses, and Other Reflections on Anxiety and Depression (part one)

Apr 04, 2019, 09:00 AM

Our conversation with Dan Andrus, fire chief of Concord, the capital of New Hampshire, touches on PTSD in first responders, depression and suicide. Here is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website:

The Lifeline phone number is: 1-800-273-8255.

Also, in part one of our conversation, Dan mentions 3 firefighters who have faced the life-draining forces of traumatic stress, and the mental health costs in doing so. Those people, and links to their stories, are:

Mike Stevens, Salt Lake City:

Todd Donovan, Derry, New Hampshire:

Scott Geiselhart, Frazee, Minnesota:

Dan is a beautiful soul, experienced as a lifesaver and well-acquainted with human suffering. Our conversation covers the opioid crisis, and then pivots to the anxiety and depression that can come with repeated exposure to trauma: PTSD for paramedics and first responders.

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Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

00:10    Chris introduces today’s show and expresses sadness that Shayna is unable to join him today.

03:13    Dan explains how long he has been the fire chief in Concord, and how he got to the Granite State. How would we tell the stories of our lives? How would we tell the story of how we got to where we are? What is a Christian understanding of “vocation,” and how does that offer an alternative to economics-saturated understandings of work?

07:05    Chris asks about the opioid crisis. Dan shares his experiences and observations. For those of you who like statistics, Dan shares some of those too. What despair is in our land, if people are dying in such large numbers from addiction and overdose?

12:18    What In God’s Name is having a funding campaign: support the core values of curiosity, depth, and shining light into the public conversation by going to our website, and making a donation through Patreon, or through Filmmakers Collaborative.

13:37    Why is there an opioid addiction crisis in the United States? Why now? How can we understand anxiety and depression philosophically (what do these afflictions say about human being, human nature)? Theologically? What role does pain play in our lives? Should we aim to eliminate all pain? If not, how do we distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable pain?

18:40    Dan turns the conversation in the direction of first responders’ experiences with post-traumatic stress, depression, and suicide attempts. Sometimes the darkness and pain and heartbreak seem to be too big. What resources can we draw on, in order to get through to the dawn?

22:36    “Seeing in color again”: how is this a metaphor for new life? How is this an actual, physical experience of what it means to be transformed? How is this a metaphor for hope?