Silent but Deadly: A Personal Charleston Opioid Addiction Story

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By Mackenzie Miller

It has crept upon us, and it’s hard to tell who it comes from. No. It’s not what you think. I am referring to the gradual prevalence of opioid addiction that has traversed our nation. With its rising death toll, it has been declared a national epidemic. Dare I say the “T” word. My addiction crept up over the course of eight months after a knee surgery. At first, my doctor prescribed me bottles of Oxycodone (Oxy) for my physical pain. After a while, that pain diminished. What was left was an emotional pain. An emptiness created by my isolation that needed to be suppressed. Oxy was my solution. My doctor kept prescribing it to me as long as I appeared to be in physical pain.

I tried to convince myself that I could stop whenever I wanted. I told myself I would stop once my knee was back to normal, whatever that meant. But deep down, I knew that was a lie. It wasn’t until my addiction starting affecting my job that I noticed my cavalier habit was a sincere problem. The job is usually what goes first. It’s gone after one blink. Plus, the week-long stint in the hospital was an eye opener.

One lesson I learned from this enlightening experience, aside from the obvious, is to choose your friends wisely. I am lucky to have a great group of friends. These loyal friends of mine sprinted into action once they were aware of my problem. I hid it well. When you have friends here and there that don’t all know each other, it makes it easy to slowly withdraw from them. But it didn’t take them long to put the pieces together, noticing all the red flags along the way.

Choose your friends wisely. The ones who will buy tampons for you in the middle of the night. The ones who will drive you to the airport at four in the morning. Keep those around. They are the ones who will be visiting you in the hospital while you are hooked up to two IVs and pissing in a bed pan.

*The name has been changed to protect the privacy of the author

We would like to thank the author for her courage in sharing this story with us.