Name: Madison ...
From: Pullman, Washington
School: Washington State University
From Disabled to Addicted
Disabled to Addicted
crisis in the United States has become one of the most prevalent
issues in the past 20 years. Opioids have become more accessible
through pain medications and alcoholism still wreaks havoc on
thousands of individuals. The main reason why the United States is
dealing with an addiction problem is due to lack of education on
drugs and alcohol and the circumstances one might go through to
become addicted. When I was in high school I was taught sex education
and about drugs like marijuana. I was never taught about the dangers
of opioids that could be prescribed to you for pain or what alcohol
consumption can do to your mental health.
had my first run in with prescribed opioids when I was 17 years old.
I had just gotten my wisdom teeth out and was given Percocet for the
pain. I remember the feeling after taking them. I felt like I was
floating on a cloud. My toes were tingling, and I felt like I was a
light as a feather. No one had educated me on the side effects of
this drug. I did not know that you cannot drive when taking them or
that it makes you feel very nauseous. All I knew was that they felt
forward to my junior year of college. I had suffered a lower back
injury that left me temporarily disabled. I was not able to walk,
stand in the shower or brush my teeth without feeling excruciating
pain. I was not given the luxury of time off from school. So, I had
to power through it and deal with the pain. When I first went to the
doctor for my injury I was given some muscle relaxers for nighttime
to help me sleep. After a while my pain got worse and those pills did
not work so I was given hydrocodone instead. Then Tramadol. Then
Norco. Then Valium. These pills helped with the physical pain, but
not with the mental. I became dependent on these medicines to heal me
of what I was going through instead of myself. I was obsessed with
the idea that I could get away with taking all of these medicines for
a pain I knew was never going to go away. I kept getting prescribed
and prescribed one week after the next.
was not until I had surgery for my injury when I realized that my
supply would not be forever. My doctor gave me strict restrictions on
what I could take and could not, to avoid the possibility of an
addiction I had already developed. When I run out of my medicine I
would not be given anymore because the pain would be gone. I took
this as a blessing and a curse.
my own experiences the consequences of an addiction of any kind can
really deter an individual from a life that they deserve. It is so
easy to become consumed with the euphoric feeling of substance or
alcohol consumption. The temporary high relieves you of all reality.
This creates a vicious cycle of wanting to keep abusing to avoid the
actual numbness that is felt on the inside. This toxic relationship
can lead to others ending. Friendships and romantic partnerships can
come to a halt because of the new lover in your life that can make
you feel good any time of day.
is no one real remedied path to stop a crisis of this magnitude. On
an individual level education is the most valuable tool that can be
used to combat this. Learning about the dangers of addiction at a
young age can best help deter future generations from developing
dependencies. On a societal level there needs to be a more cohesive
front on support for those struggling. I have witnessed countless
friends and family members fall victim to addiction issues even when
they sought for help. The stigma that seeking help makes you seem
weak needs to end in order to successfully help those in trouble.
Someone’s vulnerability needs to be seen as something that society
views as strong and powerful. Being vulnerable and recognizing that
there is an issue if the first step to any problem.