Addiction Among Us

Guest: Kirk Mittleman

We have all seen it, but just too late! We may have a loved one who has the problem, but don’t want to say anything. Ignoring it won’t help but saying something means we have a problem. Did you enable the addict by ignoring the issue? Admitting to it means we have failed in our quest to be perfect. Why is drug and alcohol addiction so prevalent in our profession? Can we make a difference through education and leadership by changing our own outlook and attitudes?

In public safety, we lose excellent professionals to addiction every day. They may go on to right their own ship, but most do not. Public safety administrators, educators and workers need to step up and help our own. Recognizing the problem is our first step in helping our students, staff and co-workers through recovery. The second step is educating students and employees of the danger that is around the corner. As leaders in EMS and public safety, we have an obligation to take care of our own and not cast them aside. Don’t ignore the problem, become part of the solution by learning and helping our colleagues avoid and beat addiction.

“Capt. Kirk” is a 40-year veteran of EMS and public safety. He retired in 2001 from Provo City Police after 22 years and a Purple Heart.  Upon retiring from law enforcement, Capt. Kirk went to work full time in the fire/EMS service where he again retired after serving as a paramedic captain and EMS coordinator for Eagle Mountain Fire Department.

Capt. Kirk is currently working for Reach Air Medical, serving Contra Costa County Fire Protection District as the clinical quality improvement and clinical education coordinator.  Capt. Kirk teaches all levels of EMT’s and wilderness medicine as the co-founder and program director of Mt. Nebo Training.

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