Heroin And Opioid Addiction In Their Own Words

a mother's overdose fears
a mother’s overdose fears

Opioid Addiction Stories in Their Own Words

The television program, Frontline, has published several documentaries about heroin and opioid addiction.  Recently they asked their audience to open up about their experience with addictions and the responses are powerful.  Some are from addicts themselves, others from a family member or loved one touched by the addiction of someone else.  Each is touching in it’s own way.

Opioid Addiction –  Addicts Tell Their Stories:

 

Someone addicted to opioids

I’m a good person. I’m a contributing member of society. I’m educated. I have a good job, make good money, have wonderful relationships with my loved ones. I’m so completely average. The only thing that sets me apart from that other young business professional that seems to have it all is that I’m addicted to opiates. And the problem is that I tell myself everyday it’s not a problem because I am able to carry my life on in a normal way…I’m not a typical addict. I don’t steal, lie to borrow money, I don’t manipulate people, I don’t engage in promiscuous activity…since it’s not ruining my life in the way of major money, legal, or relationship issues I tell myself that it’s not ruining my life. I’m delusional.

John, from Portland

I have struggled with opioid addiction on and off for 30 years with the most clean time being 7 years consecutive. The thing that I think that people are quickly understanding is that opiate addiction does not discriminate and is not a moral failing. Many of us that have become addicted are intelligent, valuable people who lost control after experimentation, curiosity or having the opiates prescribed. I didn’t ever intend to be a heroin addict; it quickly got out of control and led me to places I never dreamed of.

A former addict from Pittsburgh

You must be vigilant at all times against relapse and you must surround yourself with different places and people. Being in recovery is hard. It’s almost impossible if you stay in your neighborhood and are friends with the same people. You basically have to dump your life and start over.

Craig from Deptford

How it can take over anyone’s life. My childhood was beautiful. My life was beautiful. I was motivated, active, successful, and loved my family. My addiction stole everything from me. Recovery is possible though. In two years clean and sober I have gained so much back.

Sarah who overcame her addiction

That it’s a public/mental health disease, it’s not about being a bad person or morally weak. I also want people to know that with proper long-term treatment it’s possible to recover and live a beautiful life. I feel incredibly fortunate to have my recovery of almost 6 years and to have my life back

addiction stories in their own words
Addiction Stories

People Whose Lives Have Been Affected By Opioid Addiction:

Jenny from Philadelphia

That it is truly a disease that affects so many families. Many times drug abusers have underlying mental health issues. So many people are afraid to talk about it, yet so many are affected by it. The system in place now doesn’t provide the best support for some people who are struggling to stay clean. Loving an addict when they are using is heartbreaking, scary, and frustrating.

Denise from Oklahoma

That it KILLS!! I’ve lost BOTH MY BOYS to heroin overdoses. My 19-year-old Dillan in 2010, and my 28-year-old Matthew just two weeks ago, February 3, 2016!!! THIS KILLS!!!! DEALERS ARE CUTTING DRUGS WITH ALL SORTS OF CHEMICALS…DO NOT USE!!!!

Jennifer from Jacksonville

The chance of dying during relapse after rehabilitation from opioid dependency is the most painful experience your loved ones may have to face. Even in death we love you and wish there was a better outcome. I miss my wife every single day.

Margie who lost her son in 2010, when he was 22

That they never intended for this to happen to them. That they wish they never would have started. They feel pretty bad about themselves already without judgment from everyone else. They were still good, caring people. Addiction just completely overtook them. Their families are devastated. Their siblings and parents left behind are forever affected, forever touched by this disease. This becomes a family disease once it touches even one person in the family. We are not ashamed of them. Through their addiction we continued to love them and forever will.

We are survivors of one the worst wars in America. We cry everyday. We cry for those that will die today, tomorrow, next week, next month and on and on. We cry for their families, and with their families. We are losing beautiful, creative, and loving people, every 19 minutes, and over 120 people a day. It seems like no one cares, that there is no outrage. This is a silent killer, and not enough noise is being made about this modern-day scourge in America.

While I am a mother who lost her son to an opioid overdose, it does not define me, or my family. My son still matters, even though most people cannot bring themselves to even say his name, or recall his memory. I am forever missing my son, Mitchell, and he is my inspiration to wake up and live, every single day

Justine who lost her 16-year-old son to an overdose

That it can take one time; that not everyone gets 10 chances at rehab. That the reckless and glamorous life of your favorite band will not necessarily be your outcome. That you can overdose and die by snorting; needles are not required.

Opioid Addiction Conclusion

These stories are a grim reminder of how getting high for fun so often leads to tragedy.  A life cut off far too soon, a family shattered, a parent loses a child, a young life is taken.  Our hope is out readers will listen and learn and if they are struggling with opioid or opiates they will reach out for help, or that if one who has a family member or loved one is reading they too will reach out for solutions.  Most every community has some sort of social service that can help you find an appropriate level of addiction treatment.  Our National Addiction Hotline is open 24/7 and we are always here to provide guidance and also help you determine treatment options. 1-888-352-6072

To learn more read our special report, Addiction Hotline Facts About Opioids and Opiates

Learn more about Help for Crystal Meth Addicts

American Epidemic A Nations Struggle With Opioid Addiction

Opioid Documentary

Opioid, opiate and heroin addictions have gripped the US more than any other time in history.  Opioid addiction has become a menace. Each day addicts are overdosing and even dying at alarming rates. How do people become addicted and what price do they pay?  What does the family of an opioid or opiate addict face?  Watch this documentary on the opioid epidemic to better understand what addicts and their families face each and every day.

And see our special report on Addiction Hotline Facts About Opioids and Opiates.

Heroin Addiction Is Not What Is Portrayed In Popular Media

portrayal of a heroin userAre All Heroin Users Junkies?

All too often heroin is portrayed in popular media as a drug that people start out injecting (shooting up) and they’re instantly addicted.  The “junkie” portrayal is more dramatic but not very realistic.  Heroin is indeed a highly addictive drug, and there are thousands of junkies who need help, but heroin addiction to tends to me more gradual.  Perhaps this is what makes it so insidious:  at first the heroin user believes getting high isn’t as risky or dangerous as they were lead to believe.  They are able to get high at night and function normally the next day.

What could go wrong?

All sorts of things could go wrong…

Typical Heroin Addiction Progression

Users typically start out smoking (sometimes called “chasing the dragon“) or snorting it.  In fact many never use it intravenously.  The pattern consists of using it as a recreational drug without any measurable consequences but over time their tolerance to the drug builds up which results in the need to consume more in order to maintain the same level of “high”.  This is where the addiction begins to kick in.  Daily (routine) use plus increased doses is the catalyst for dependency and addiction.

They are able to get high at night and function normally the next day. What could go wrong?

And note we are not trying to portray heroin as safe or without risks.  Heroin is highly addictive and the effects to the body over time are dreadful. And even though addiction is not instant, one can overdose and die the very first time they use it. Keep in mind street heroin is often mixed with other potent drugs so the user seldom really knows what is going into their system. The risks are very high and the consequences can be fatal.

How Do Heroin Users End Their Addiction?

The good news is addicts can end their addiction and turn their lives around.  Heroin is a powerful drug but people stop using it all the time. It takes an honest desire to stop using and then seeking guidance in the form of treatment and/or support group involvement.  We highly recommend the heroin user talk to a medical specialist who is trained in addiction care.  Often medically supervised detox is necessary and sometimes inpatient treatment is the best course of action.  Withdrawal symptoms can be daunting therefore seek medical assistance.

Watch this video on Heroin Addiction from a heroin user’s perspective to learn more.

Learn the Facts About Opioids and Opiates