Faces of Addiction: Part Two
Opiate abuse is an incredibly difficult thing to face. Whether you’re struggling with your own dependence on opioids, or you know a loved one who is, the journey is never easy. All too often, it’s made more difficult by the public perception of what a “drug addict” is – but here at OTCOA, we know that addiction has many faces.
If you or a friend or family member is struggling with opiate abuse, we know that your struggle is not due to flaws in character or a lack of willpower. Opiate addiction affects real people and real families every day. This series of stories will attempt to illustrate why so many regular people fall victim to opiate use and abuse, and how they can find help.
Faces of Addiction: The College Recruit
As high school drug abuse increases, studies show that prescription drugs are the most likely source of student drug use. The likelihood of drug use increases significantly if the student is an athlete, with a 2009 report finding that 12% of male high school athletes were abusing prescription painkillers.
The stakes are high for many high school athletes who see their sport as the only viable path for pursuing a college education. The recruiting process and all the dreams attached can vanish in the face of an unexpected injury. In these circumstances, painkillers provide a relief from the physical pain and emotional turmoil of losing future plans.
Consider one high school junior, a local rising star and the quarterback of his small town’s football team. From a young age, college football has been this student’s goal, with recruiters contacting him as early as his freshman year.
Halfway through the season, disaster strikes. He blows out his knee in the middle of a game and has to undergo ACL repair and months of long, painful recovery. His doctor prescribes Oxycontin to treat the post surgery pain.
College recruiters stop calling. This young quarterback quickly sees his dreams of college football slipping away and the future he had planned for himself is suddenly gone. He begins taking Oxycontin to numb his thoughts and handle the feelings of hopelessness that begin to pervade his life.
His parents are worried – he barely makes it through his senior year and almost misses his graduation ceremony due to opiates. His family and friends don’t realize that he’s already shifted his prescription pill addiction over to an easier, cheaper alternative – heroin.
He gets a job selling cars after graduation, but quickly loses it after he misses his shifts. His parents are still concerned, but they reassure themselves that he’s okay- he’s a still tall, healthy and muscular. This was their hardworking, talented son, not a frail-looking junkie.
What they don’t realize is that addiction takes its toll on everyone, from all walks of life. They don’t recognize the extent of their son’s problem until it’s too late – Like many young people who develop an addiction, their son experiences an overdose and does not survive.
Addiction doesn’t discriminate against athletes or healthy, young students. At OTCOA, we recognize that addiction is a struggle not even the strongest of us can overcome without help. If you or a family member needs help fighting opiate abuse with scientifically-backed and effective treatment, contact us today and learn more about our personalized treatment.