Addict tells of struggle with prescription painkillers

Special Report: Prescription for an Epidemic
This is the second installment of a joint investigation by West Virginia Public Broadcasting and The Charleston Gazette

‘It still takes my breath’

By Scott Finn
sfinn@wvpubcast.org

Drug overdoses are killing a record number of young West Virginians, mostly from prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin, methadone and Vicodin.

Officially, they’re listed as deaths caused by poisoning, but they’re usually drug overdoses. And West Virginians are more likely than people in any other state to die from poisoning.

In fact, it’s now the leading cause of death in West Virginia for adults younger than 45 – more so than car wrecks, heart attacks or cancer, according to a joint investigation by West Virginia Public Broadcasting and The Charleston Gazette.

Part one of our investigation aired yesterday. It focused on the depth of the problem.

Today, Scott Finn speaks to a young woman who overdosed on methadone earlier this year. We have changed her name to protect her identity. She nearly died – but that hasn’t reduced her lust for prescription painkillers.

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2 Comments on “Addict tells of struggle with prescription painkillers”

  1. Colin M. Says:

    I assume since you are only speaking the negative side of Methadone, you will be fair and balanced and talk about how many lives have been saved by Methadone. It is ALWAYS one-sided when you read articles by the Gazette and WV Public Radio. Not all are drug addicts that take this life saving medication. How ridiculous!


  2. I personally knew several of the victims. LEGAL prescription drugs are WORSE THAN MANY ILLEGAL DRUGS in the wrong hands and yet they are still legal as opposed to other less dangerous “illegal” ones. A clear example of how our “big daddy” government looks after it’s “children”…

    Drug culture is rampant. Probably 8 in 10 people are on SOME TYPE OF DRUG, anything from “illegal” pot to “legal” morphine. Somebody YOU KNOW is on them. Yet, as bad as something like CRANK is, the only deaths in THIS community have been from LEGAL drugs. And so what is the fix for this problem? TOSS ‘EM ALL IN JAIL!!! Oh yea, that will make it all better. Because anybody who looks to a mind altering substance for relaxation and leisure or to actually MAKE THEM FEEL BETTER, MUST BE A CRIMINAL!!! Oops, but not the people who consume alcohol…

    Come on! In the 60’s they told us pot would make us crazy and want to kill people. They lied. They told us LSD would make us permanently insane. They lied. They told us alcohol was bad for us, but only if we drank too much. It’s still legal, even tho it causes more trouble than just about any other mind altering substance. So, when they told us that all these other drugs could hurt us, we didn’t listen… It’s all just another way to catch a buzz to people who don’t know any better. And, after all, if these drugs are being prescribed by doctors, then how bad can they really be? Right? Many times people use ILLEGAL drugs to effectively self medicate. But THAT is looked down upon, and quite often these same people end up ADDICTED to far more dangerous LEGAL substances with their doctors blessing. But, lots of people are living below the poverty level and can’t pay their bills, so rather than TAKE all their prescribed meds, they SELL some to others to help make ends meet. OR they didn’t really need the meds to begin with, but some way-too-busy doctor was more than happy to write them out a prescription without enough knowledge of the patients condition…

    $44 million goes to the lucky winners (WVSP) in the lawsuit against a drug manufacturer. So we can arrest and incarcerate even MORE of these HORRIBLE DRUG ADDICTED CRIMINALS.

    It’s all a set up to drain the citizens of their money. Nobody in power really cares or things would not have come to this. So, if they don’t really care, then WHY do they focus so on INCARCERATION in a hell-hole (Regional Jail) where it costs US almost $50.00 per day per inmate, and torment and torture are ACCEPTABLE practices, rather than focus on counseling, rehab, education, etc. With the number of HORRIBLE CRIMINAL drug addicts we are paying for in the jails, if THAT money were used more constructively, things might really improve.

    The “WAR ON DRUGS” is simply a convenient way for the “authorities” to keep their noses planted firmly up more and more peoples donkeys, adding names to the growing list of “criminals”, and with them actually ADDING to the problem, things will only get worse.

    Colin, I have several friends on Methadone treatment programs. You CAN’t get on one unless you have a substance abuse problem. That translates to DRUG ADDICTS. Maybe we should simply make all drug addicts go to the nearest regional jail to get their “treatment”, do not pass go…


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