There seems to be some confusion both in drug and alcohol treatment and with those who know someone who is, regarding prescription pill addiction.
As such, I’m going to set the stage for a recent incident which might help explain a bit about the difference between legitimate use and prescription drug abuse.
On Monday, I got into a car accident. Out of the four cars involved in the crash, the person who hit me and myself took the most damage to our cars. I took the most bodily damage. Everything seemed fine at first. Aside from being a little forgetful at the scene, all that could really be discerned was a small cut under my left eye. When I got home, however, things changed quickly.
I really only remember bits and pieces, and my clarity even now is debatable, but I know I went to the hospital after I couldn’t remember my name, birthday, address, phone number, or other basic information. Apparently, I was pretty irate during the process. Luckily my girlfriend was with me to help answer the questions being asked. The doctors and nurses assumed that I was simply drunk and/or high, but my girlfriend, who has also been involved in addiction recovery for several years, informed them that I was, God willing, going to be taking a 10-year cake in July. Despite protestations of being prescribed Vicodin, and the doctor knowing my history, the doctor said, “Look, if you don’t need them, great; but I have a feeling you will.”
He was right. The following day, my face (which had snapped off the sun visor during the accident) felt like it’d been hit with a baseball bat, I could barely walk, and moving my neck in any direction was just not happening. Despite the fears my father had, I took the Vicodin, as prescribed. It was needed. The result was very little, if any at all. I’ve always had a naturally high tolerance against opiate addiction, but as one friend put it, “Isn’t that a bit like playing with fire?” Yes, it is. At the same time, though, I am not a doctor, and I’m definitely not qualified to determine what is best for me, especially when it comes to chemicals. I informed the doctor of my history with drug and alcohol addiction, I protested initially, I took them as prescribed, and others were aware that I was taking them. I performed my due diligence, and in the end, I’m glad I listened to the doctor.
As a drug addict and alcoholic, I have a tendency to want to tell doctors how to do their job when it comes to my particular treatment. In my particular case, though, doctors had to go through more years of schooling than I had getting loaded, and even then, I wasn’t very good at it. Opiate addiction is a real risk when using such medications, but, assuming the proper due diligence has been performed, that decision is between the addict and their doctor. Obviously, there is no right or wrong answer that will fit for everyone, but if that person is faced with a serious issue which required equally serious treatment.