Addicted to OxyContin at 17

Summary and Analysis

A  recovering opioid addict went on to found Facing Addiction, a leading national addiction recovery advocacy organization. A core message for his group is that people in recovery need ongoing help and one of the organizations key action items is to promote the need for multiple pathways for recovery for individuals and their families. 

Excerpted from The Guardian

“The opioid painkiller OxyContin hit the market in a big way in the year 2000, just after I turned 17. I was already using other prescription drugs. I started taking it in small doses, then it became a daily routine of crushing and snorting pills.

I was naive to what I was doing to my body. On days I didn’t have it I would experience withdrawal, and sleep all day, but I had this idea that because doctors made the drugs, they were safe. Not realizing at the time this was basically synthetic heroin.

I’m 34 now and have been in recovery from addiction to opioids, alcohol and other drugs for just over 16 years – I know how long I’ve been in recovery better than I know my age…

People in recovery need ongoing support because addiction is a chronic illness. You don’t go to five days of “detox” or 28 days of “rehab” or receive outpatient treatment and sail off into the sunset.,,

I was lucky to get the early intervention, quality treatment, recovery supports and family support that I did. Adolescents do better in addiction treatment services than any other age group. I was able to sit in counseling and talk about the exact onset of my illness…”