While television and movies may have created a stereotypical image of a drug addict, the real world is rarely so cut and dry. While illegal drugs may be incredibly dangerous and addictive, they are far from the only substances responsible for causing the recent increase in drug addiction in the U.S. Opiates are being prescribed at an alarming rate that appears to only be increasing.
According to the CDC, the sales of prescription opioids almost quadrupled in the U.S between 1999 and 2014 despite no overall change in the amount of pain reported. Statistics like this serve to illustrate the growing addiction problem we have in this country, as well as give an explanation as to why so many people not typically associated with drug addiction are falling prey to it.
An NPR podcast released in May 2016 dove into the life of Joy, a former nurse who became consumed by her addiction. Like so many other people in the U.S. today, she became addicted to prescription painkillers. In her case, she became addicted to a powerful opioid called Opana after suffering a back injury while on the job.
Before the injury, she had three kids, was a Girl Scout leader, had a home and a car, and held a good job. Within a year of her injury, all of that was gone. She sold almost everything she owned in order to feed her addiction, lost her house, and fell out of contact with her children. Even when she was thrown in jail, something many people might consider rock bottom, for visiting a place known to be associated with drug use, she couldn’t escape her addiction.
After her release, Joy relapsed. She broke her court ordered curfew, cut off her GPS monitor, and was arrested the next morning, this time spending more than 40 days in jail. Despite believing she set herself on the path to recovery while incarcerated, the day she returned home Joy went out again to get a pill.
It wasn’t until she went to a clinic to seek help that Joy was finally able to gain some traction in her fight for recovery. Even now, she still faces cravings and needs to work every day to keep herself strong enough to avoid another relapse. But with that help, she has reinstated her nursing license that lapsed during her time on the street, is talking to her daughters again, and sees her son every day after school.
Stories like Joy’s are tragic, and occur far too often. At Turning Point, we work to help our patients overcome their addictions, as well as work with them to develop the tools and coping mechanisms that they need to manage the difficulties they may continue to face in everyday life. You can learn more about our New Jersey facilities through our website, and if you’ve decided to take the next step and seek help, contact us today. You don’t need to fight your addiction alone.