Fighting Against Opioid Drugs Addiction,- A child of affluence in Los Angeles, Cara Coslow, recounts her decade-long addiction to opioids and how she won her personal battle against the national scourge. Cara has been sober for over seven years. She now works as an intake administrator for Klean, helping opioid addicts through the treatment process. Here is her talk to share the experience of being a long time addict.

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“I really grew up in lovely homes, very erudite, smart parents. We travelled everywhere. It was a great childhood. But the early red flags were there by the time I was 13 or 14, and it started with the pills that were popular then, like Downs, Seconal, and Tuinal. Then I progressed to coke. Then I got sober for a really long time, cuz those drugs didn’t work.

Some of my happiest years were spent on the Paramount lot, where I spent many years. My favorite job working with a wonderful casting director named Jeff Greenberg, who did Cheers and Frasier and some great shows. But this gradual increase in my addiction that comes with opioids really hurt me in a much more significant way. My work suffered and I saw myself go back to the drugs I had stopped years ago. And I stopped being able to show up and function.

I was in my 30s when I first took a painkiller, which is what an opioid is, and I got addicted to opioids because of migraines. I became addicted to Vicodin over a period of ten years, where it was just something I enjoyed, to something I sort of needed, to something I couldn’t live without. That my life really for another five years just became about managing my addiction.

At the height of my addiction, I was taking between 30 and 60 pills a day. If I could get 60, which I tried to get, I’d take 60, usually it was around 40. If I could’ve gotten 100 every day, I would’ve taken 100 every day. I needed drugs so frequently and so desperately that many of my days were spent. Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, all in order to get a prescription for Vicodin.

I tried to get off opioids. I would say I had 50 to a 100 attempts. I was in and out of treatment at least 20 times. And I always went back, because of what they called post-acute withdraw, which is that period of just feeling horrible. It’s torture. I mean that’s the perfect word for it. I realized I had to turn things around, because I had nothing left to lose. And there is, and was, thankfully a part of me that wasn’t gonna go down with the ship. I got sober right here at Klean Treatment Center. And I was sick for about three months, but gradually I was able to get up, go to events, go to meetings. The doctor was writing orders that were appropriate for what I was going through.

More than anything else, people had empathy for me. I don’t crave them, no. But for every so often, if I’m a dentist’s office, it’ll sort of come back. It’s a visceral thing that little thrill of getting drugs, but it’s such a disastrous outcome, that I pray I never go back there.”

More than 2 million Americans abuse or are dependent on prescription opioids. It means that one out of 10 Americans that need treatment are actually receiving it A director of office of national Drug control Policy, Michael Botticelli, said that Opiods are taking a horrific toll on public health and safety in countries across the United States. It’s a crisis that affects old and young, rich and poor. 91 People a day die from opioid overdoses.