Summary and Analysis

The author of this article provides an intimate and poignant account of her struggles with—and subsequent recovery from—opioid addiction. Hers is a too-common story of a person who starts out becoming dependent on prescription opioids (an 8-year-long habit) who was forced to turn to heroin when she was no longer able to obtain pills from her doctor.

In this article, she highlights one aspect of this issue that is not often discussed. In her words, “The great, gaping hole of the response to the opioid epidemic is that withdrawal is the most important aspect, and it’s barely given lip service.” Her point is that any approach to treating opioid addiction must address the suffering experienced by an individual during withdrawal. She gets right to the heart of the matter when she states, “The absolute ineptitude of the entire medical community to treat opioid withdrawal was never in sharper relief to me than at that moment.”

Excerpted from Washington Post

I am a married, middle-aged woman, a taxpaying homeowner. As privilege goes, I have it. Because I’m White, I get treated better in medical settings such as hospitals and rehabs. I have health insurance. I have access to credit. My spouse could not be more supportive.

But every day for a couple of years I left my house with a river view and drove downtown in South Yonkers to meet my dealer. I know a letter carrier who once worked that neighborhood. He told me there was a time when you could buy an Uzi on his route.

I knew the first time I bought heroin at age 48 that doing so probably meant the end of my life. But compared to withdrawal, that was fine by me.