LET'S TALK ABOUT IT


To combat opioid abuse, we must shine light on it.

STORIES OF LOSS, HOPE, AND HEALING

More stories from the community

The opioid epidemic can affect any one of us, and in many ways affects us all. There is comfort and wisdom to be gained in coming together and affirming that we are not alone.

Nikki's Story
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Nikki
North Ogden
For a long time, I was scared, ashamed, disappointed and wanted to keep my secret hidden. It's time to stop hiding and share my story, in hopes to help someone. More importantly, to raise awareness to parents! Parents, don't think your kids are safe or innocent! Talk to them! My parents never once told me the effects drugs could have on you, that I could die, that I could lose everything I have. All I was taught was, drugs are bad, don't do them. Parents, tell your kids the harsh truth and reality of opioids. If you don't know the reality, do some research. Drugs don't discriminate. I was student body president, homecoming queen, a college volleyball player, high honors student, a mother, pregnant with my second child, and NO ONE knew I was addicted to heroin. I started out in an abusive relationship, I turned to pills to numb out the pain of the abuse, the self worthlessness. At some point, my addiction turned to heroin. I lost everything I had ever worked for, my job, my fiancé, almost lost my two most prized possessions; my children, trust, and so much more. Please, please, PLEASE talk to your kids! When you think they are ok, they very likely might not be. In no way am I blaming for my parents for my bad decisions, I am just saying how important it is to talk to your kids, because like I said, drugs do not discriminate. I am now 7 months sober and have two amazing little boys, a man who adores me and a wonderful job. I can do this! I promise to talk to my kids and be as involved as I possibly can. I hope by being very vulnerable and sharing my gut wrenching story, that I can help someone out there!! We need to stop the opioid epidemic! ❤️
Alex's Story
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Alex
Layton
My family has history of opioid abuse. My uncle died from opioid overdose when he was only 28. It was something that shook my family, and hard to deal with at the time. Then, I was young, and did not fully understand what had happened. I didn't fully understand how powerful opioids were until I had to take them myself after surgery. Years had gone by, and after tearing my ACL and needing reconstructive surgery I ended up with a prescription for Percocet after my surgery. One pill every four hours turned to two, to three, and eventually to four at a time. A month and a half had passed before my doctor looked at me and said I was too dependent, and would not refill my prescription. It was then that I realized I had two choices. I was either going to hit the streets and buy illegally, or stop cold. I'm happy to say I chose the latter, but it was the absolute worst week of my life. My last pill I took was on Christmas Eve. The following week to week and a half was full of extreme anxiety, increased heart rate, and all the symptoms you can look up on Web MD. It was pure hell. I am so grateful that I had a support group, mainly my wife, who I could talk to and get all my frustrations and feelings of anxiety of my chest. Going through the withdrawals was very, very tough. I'm not sure if I could have done it without the support group that I had. The crazy thing is I was so addicted, and had absolute horrible withdrawal symptoms only after a month and a half of use! My heart goes out to those who have been on opiods for months, even years. There is hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Get a support group around you, and if you need someone, you can have me there in your support group if needed.
Dustin's Story
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Dustin
SLC
My name is Dustin and I'm an opiate addict. My story is similar to any other opiate addict. For whatever reason, opiates affect our brains differently. They seem like the answer to every problem. And after every unmistakable consequence, they still feel like the answer. No matter how enjoyable, most people would recognize the insanity of addiction and stop. An addict is willing to suffer for it. The most puzzling aspect of addiction is the degree of insanity a person is willing live with. To reach a person in this state is nearly impossible. It takes a catastrophe to bring them down. It took several for me. The road to recovery from opiates is an uphill battle. It takes the brain ten months to recover from opiate addiction, which is a hard thing to endure, especially as an addict. What surprised me is that it really does get easier. Recovery is hard, but the peace of mind and freedom obtained are worth it. It's the only thing I became unwilling to give up for heroin. In recovery, however, I faced the dilemma of managing chronic pain. I went to several doctors and various clinics, but nothing we tried helped. I mistakably resorted to methadone. All the serenity and peace I felt in recovery was gone. Moreover, the methadone stopped working. That's what's so misleading about painkillers, they're not effective for long term pain. I started doing weekly sessions of acupuncture a year ago and it worked. My pain was gone, as well as other physical and emotional problems. Acupuncture works on stress, anxiety, depression and physical pain at once. I suffered from all of them and finally found relief. Two months ago I got off methadone. It was a world of hell. The anhedonic depression is all I can see. But I know the beauty of recovery is worth it. I want to extend that to anyone suffering out there. The way in is the way out and you have to be brave, but there is a way out.
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Charla's Story
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Charla
Millcreek
My only child, my beautiful 22 year old daughter, Cassidy died of an apparent heroin overdose on November 11, 2016. We found out later that it was 100% fentanyl that killed her that night. Cassidy tried heroin for the first time when she was 15. Ever since then, she has struggled with this disease and we always knew that it could eventually take her life. Her dad and I were very vocal immediately in telling the truth about her cause of death and including it in her obituary. Our story got national attention and we kept seeing her obituary being shared all over social media. Three different news stations in Utah and Alabama covered our story and did interviews with us. My daughter was born in Salt Lake City but was living in Birmingham, AL when she died. I have recently started a blog, telling our story and sharing my experience in losing a child to opiate use disorder. Here is the link to my blog: https://mynewnormal473.wordpress.com/ We want to shout out loud so people understand that this epidemic is killing our children and it does NOT discriminate.