Coming Clean

A man stands in a tunnel looking toward the light at the end which appears to open up into a forest-like park. - 7/01/2019

A 39-year-old construction worker strained his back while lifting heavy cinder blocks and went to the emergency room for treatment. After a thorough examination the doctor recommended a prescription for Percocet, but the man adamantly refused, saying, “That stuff messed me up.”  In his 20s he took a similar medication and became addicted. It took him 10 years to get clean.

This man’s story is common among all socioeconomic classes. Opioids have highly addictive properties, and as in this man’s case, a downward spiral can happen quite innocently. The cycle of addiction is often perpetuated by ‘doctor shopping’ to obtain more prescriptions, but those eventually run out. That’s when some people turn to the streets in search of heroin. 

Illicit drugs are unpredictable and are often fatal. Heroin comes into the country containing lethal doses of the ingredient fentanyl causing people to die. People also are dying of overdoses when they relapse. Here’s how it happens. 

Your body dictates addiction. For instance, if you take opioids long-term your brain and body get used to it. It’s extremely unhealthy, but since you’ve increased the dosage over time, your brain and body have had time to adjust and the dose isn’t fatal. Unfortunately, if you quit and allow your brain and body to grow to a healthier state and then return to using the same dose amount that you stopped with, an overdose is highly likely. There is a way to break the cycle.

Opioid addictions respond well to counseling and evidence-based treatment such as Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). Cravings are the biggest hurdle, and MAT helps you fight withdrawal cravings without disrupting your life. A variety of MAT programs are available depending on individual needs, finances and lifestyles. 

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