Sara, 29, didn’t believe she would ever become addicted to opioids because a doctor had prescribed the medication.
During treatment for a medical condition, Sara was put on a morphine drip. The drip continued throughout the duration of her hospital stay. When she left the hospital, she was given a supply of pain killers.
“I didn’t realize for another year or two that I probably left the hospital that day dependent on opioid pain medication.”
As the physical addiction took hold of Sara, she began to feel sick. Her tolerance to the drugs increased, and she needed more and more medicine to curb her pain and withdrawal symptoms. That’s when she started buying pain medication off the streets.
“Eventually that progressed to heroin because it was just so much cheaper,” she said. Before she knew it, she had become part of the nation’s opioid epidemic.
Sara knew she had to break free from the grip prescription and illicit opioids had on her and sought treatment through her primary insurance provider. “But, as it’s expensive, they wanted to exhaust every option before giving it to me,” she said. She could never get the inpatient treatment she desperately needed. Recovery didn’t come until she entered a therapeutic community program. Now, she and her parents advocate for access to opioid addiction treatment services.
Sara is one of several Colorado residents who shared her struggle with opioid addiction for Lift the Label, a public awareness campaign developed by the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health, and funded by the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health services Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The campaign strives to remove damaging labels and stigmas that prevent people struggling with opioid addiction from seeking treatment.
Source: Lift the Label