“I participated in this Opioid Prescription Pain Killers campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”
In early fall, I read Opioid Prescriptions and Addictions Are on The Rise in the US on Forbes. It made me shake my head and think back to my aunt. At an early age she started the beginnings of a life-long addiction to drugs. She didn’t fit the profile opioid dependence is often stigmatized with: bad behavior, poor judgement and weak morals. She wanted to “fit in”. The drug crowd made her feel she belonged.
My aunt was beautiful and growing up (she was 10 years older than me) she was my favorite. She spent time coloring with me, showing me off to her friends and even as a teenager, we were close. Her addiction went from opioid prescription painkillers to heroin addiction. It’s a chronic disease that affects an increasingly more Americans each year.
Opioid Prescription Pain Killers Affect Many
Another family member who was addicted to prescription painkillers told me as they were sobering up that precription drugs are “the easiest way to get high. You knew I was taking them. My boss knew. No one said anything because it’s not socially acceptable to ask someone what they are taking a prescription for, or it was just assumed I had a headache. I could pop pills in public, broad daylight, get high and nobody said anything.”
With my aunt, we knew. I can remember after having The Beauty Queen, suffering from anxiety and post-partum depression. I had a prescription. My aunt lived with my grandmother, two house down, and one day she came up to my house–a rare occurrence. She walked through the front door, said, “Hey, there” . She went to my kitchen and turned and left.
I didn’t think anything about this until that night when I needed my prescription, which I had just filled and it was empty. I called my aunt and confronted her and she simply said, “Yep. I took them. I knew you just filled them. Call your doctor, he’ll give you new ones.”
My aunt had a little boy. He was right between my Jake and Zac in age. He grew up without a mother. She was there–lived in the same house, but drugs were her love. She locked herself in her room and did them. She took pills when she was encouraged to be social with the family.
Sadly, within five years, my aunt would deteriorate to skin over a skeleton. Her body was so overcome with the drugs that it no longer was able to absorb any nutrients to survive.
She died six years ago on Christmas Eve. Her son was 16 and at home with her; he had no idea because she was in her room as she had been for his life. It would be my grandmother who found my aunt. Even at 82 years old, losing a child was devastating to my grandmother.
While I’d like to say it was that she starved to death, the reality is the drugs took her. She couldn’t beat her addiction. She tried. It was cocaine and heroine (speedballs) that took her. Her 82 year old mother found her.
Opioid Prescription Pain Killers and Reset Reality
Reset Reality is a public health initiative designed to spread awareness and understanding about the prevalience, science and treatment of opioid prescription painkiller addiction in the US.
This initiative encourages those living with prescription painkiller addiction to step back, reflect adn hit the “reset” button by workin with a healthcare professional to work towards creating a new “reality”.
ResetReality.com is an online resource where family and those with addiction, can find information and tools to help learn about opioid dependence, including a symptom screener and a resource to find a doctor that is certified to treat opioid prescription painkilller and/or heroin addiction.
I love the “Words of Reality” section, where people can share or lend support with words of inspiration. I read Karrie’s story and was so touched that she realized the same things my aunt had, but Karrie had the courage and fortitude to see it through.
If you have a loved one you suspect is abusing prescription painkillers please take a moment to learn something and find tools to support them and help them win the battle. Opioid Prescription Painkillers shouldn’t take those we love!