My name is Chris. I’m 23 years old and I currently live in Cody, Wyoming. The reason why I’m posting this is to hopefully raise awareness about the seriousness of prescription drug abuse.
I started using prescription pain medication when I was 17 years old. I never thought much of pills back then and my use was very minimal and sporadic. I’d swallow two or three 5mg hydrocodone or Oxycodone once a month or so. Never in a million years would I have thought these little pills could control me like they did. In the summer of 2007 I moved to Washington State to live with my brother. I was 18 years old and fresh off probation. I felt like I had to get out of Wyoming and see the rest of the world. Little did I know this would be a big step in the wrong direction.
My drug use up until then was somewhat small. I’ve always loved to smoke marijuana and I drank alcohol probably 20 times in my life. The access to substances in Washington was ridiculous. I wanted to try everything I could get my hands on. I started using cocaine nearly every weekend that summer and ecstasy on occasion. The first time I tried cocaine I was in love. I’ve always had a problem warming up to people and cocaine made me able to talk to anybody or do anything I wanted to do. I felt so free when I was high. But of course what goes up must come down, and that’s what I couldn’t quite handle. At times I wanted to end my life because I couldn’t stand running out of cocaine. Other times I would lie in bed for hours crying, begging myself to fall asleep.
This went on for the months of May, June, and July of 2007. I met a girl that summer and desperately wanted to get to know her more. It might have been love at first sight but who knows. This girl was a few years older than me and, as a dumb kid, I wanted to impress her. I was snorting coke in my friend’s car in the parking lot of the apartment complex he lived in when I looked up and saw her walking by. I yelled her name and she came over. She just happened to be going to the same “apartment party” I was at. I asked her if she wanted some coke and she accepted. By this point my mind was completely blown. We hung out for the rest of the night (or at least until all of my coke was gone haha). I usually had alcohol or marijuana on hand to help deal with coming down. When this girl suggested a new alternative I was in. I never knew she was a heroin addict.
The first time I tried heroin I didn’t really feel the effects much. We smoked it off tin foil and when she asked if I was high I nodded. I didn’t want to disappoint this girl. After that night I became hooked, not on heroin but my new friend. We were inseparable after that. I had a decent paying job at the time and she had a car and a decent hook. Thinking back on it she was simply using me, but I didn’t care. I was hanging out with her after work smoking heroin. Pretty soon the h started becoming my new best friend. After I got a feel for it, I was in love. Again. I stopped using cocaine and ecstasy. I stopped drinking. I even stopped talking to a lot of my friends and family. It seems like all I wanted was heroin. I loved this drug. I still love this drug. I feel like I will always love opiates even after everything I’ve been through.
After a few weeks of this I lost my job and had to move back to Wyoming to live with mom. Heroin is hard to find around here and if you do happen to run across some you’re going to have to pay an arm and a leg for some poor quality dope. That when the next best thing comes in to play: prescription pain meds. I can tell you that certain pain pills and the way you administer them will give you the same effect heroin does. Same goes for adderall and meth. This “medicine” is hard drugs in pill form. I would abuse pain pills for the next 5 years. Although I did have one more little stint in Washington that would again take a giant step down the wrong path. I moved up there with an ex-girlfriend. I stayed away from heroin for the first 3 months because she wasn’t into that stuff. Long story short we broke up, she loved out, I got depressed and started using heroin again.
Only this time it would be a little different. I went over to a friend’s house (he also used heroin) to buy some dope. He rented a room from the home owners and they weren’t there this particular afternoon. He had a girl over so we went into his bedroom so he could give me my bag. He asked me if I wanted to get high and I said yes. He told me he couldn’t smoke it in here because the girl would smell it and his roommates would also and that would be grounds for kicking him out. There was only one way to do it. I was 20 years old when I shot heroin for the first time. Just when I thought I couldn’t love something more, I did. I was completely mesmerized by the feeling this gave me. I was in heaven. I continued using heroin this way until I lost my job and my apartment. I was once again forced to move to Wyoming and live with my mother.
Back in Wyoming I was drinking every day. Meanwhile, with this new trade I learned a couple months back, I was shooting up everything I could. I didn’t care what it was. I was hooked on needles. I did massive shots of vodka, tried shooting sleeping pills, and even tried to cook pot and do that. For the next 3 years I was a mess. I met my fiance shortly after coming back to Wyoming and that seemed to wake me up a little. She smoked pot and drank and I was right there with her. We didn’t start doing pills until about 3 months after meeting, but once again I was hooked. This was right before OxyContin went extinct. But they would soon be replace by the Oxycodone HCLs. I used hydrocodone, morphine, dilaudid, suboxone, and HCLs whenever I could. When my money ran out I took from others. I stole pills from my family and random houses. I even took money from businesses but I won’t go into much detail about that.
This behavior went on until January 17th, 2012. On the morning of January 4th, 2012, I attempted to rob a local pharmacy. I broke into the building by climbing down an air duct and cutting my way in. When my feet touched the floor the motion detector sounded the alarm to the pharmacy. I tried to unlock the back and front doors from the inside but the doors did not have manual locks on them. I was trapped inside the building. With the alarm ringing and the police station one block away I decided since I’m here I might as well try to get something. I ran behind the counter and tried to find good pills but soon changed my mind. I had to get out of there. I threw an antique stove through the front window and ran away.
Those next two weeks were hell for me. The town I lived in only has a population of 4000 so I knew it was only a matter of time before I got caught. Days before the attempted robbery I thought about what I was doing. I told myself it was a bad idea and I would eventually get caught, but I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was get high. I kept thinking about having thousands of pills all to myself. I knew what the consequences would be but these pills were in control. I would be arrested days later. I sat in a holding cell waiting to be interrogated by the police for hours. I kept saying to myself, “What am I going to say to get out of this? I need to tell the cops something so they’ll let me go so I can go get high.” After sitting in the holding cell for awhile I asked if I could use the bathroom. On the way there I saw my fiancé sitting in the interrogation room. That’s when it hit me. My drug use was affecting others around me. Especially the people I love.
I told the cops I was ready to talk. I confessed to everything. I told them everything they wanted to hear. I also told them I am an addict and I need help. Now I’ve never been one to trust cops, especially detectives. In my opinion they’re very serpent-like. I knew the system but I didn’t want to live like this anymore. They took me to the Park County Detention Center where I was charged with felony burglary and felony property destruction. The next day I went to court and the judge set my bond at $25,000 cash only.
I sat in jail for the next seven months thinking about how bad I messed up my life. So many terrible things happened in my life outside of jail and there was nothing I could do about it. I only saw my fiancé and my mother for 45 minutes a week and it was through a sheet of glass. I couldn’t even hold my fiancé. I couldn’t hug my mom. I was miserable. But being locked up gave me a different perspective on life. I told myself I was done with pills. I was finished acting like a little kid and I needed to grow up. I got out of jail on August 8th, 2012.
After getting out I had no desire to get high. My fiancé was still using and I begged her to stop. I was on bond and couldn’t be around people who were doing pills. The power this medication has on people is overwhelming. My fiancé would not stop using even though she could cause the person she wants to spend the rest of her life with to go to prison. I stayed clean the first three weeks after being released until I broke my hand.
I had to get surgery on it and the doctor prescribed me 60 5mg Oxycodone for the pain afterwards. So here I am on bond and possibly going to prison for breaking into a drug store and I’m getting high. I thought, “the doctor prescribed them to me so I’m not technically using”. We ate those perks that day and I wanted more. I called my doctor and told him the Oxycodone isn’t working so he gave me 90 10mg Oxycodone HCLs. We blew through those in a couple days. I didn’t shoot any of the HCLs though, just snorted them. I thought I was doing well. A couple weeks later I’m driving down the highway when I spot my friend’s brother sitting at the gas station. My friend told me his brother gets his script on Wednesday and that’s just what he did. I pulled over and bought two 15mg HCLs from him. He also pitched in two fresh needles.
After that day I was back like nothing had changed. Like I never went to jail. I was getting far too many pills from my doctor. On October 3rd, 2012 I was sentenced in District Court for my burglary and property destruction. The maximum penalty was 20 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. I used nearly every day up until I went to court. My plea agreement stated I that in favor of 4-6 years in prison I would get 5 years of supervised probation plus I had to complete intensive outpatient treatment and pay the $4400 bill from the damage I caused in the pharmacy. I would also start probation on that day.
That was a little over three months ago. Since then I have gotten a few more scripts from my doctor. I don’t know what I was thinking. Here I am facing 4-6 years in prison and I’m still getting high. What the hell is wrong with me? I started treatment on the 14th of December but I have still used since then. The last script I got was in the beginning of December. I’ve used dilaudid and hydrocodone once also. This pretty much brings us up to now. I don’t want to use pills anymore but I can’t say no. I know it’s wrong and I am going to go to prison yet I can’t say no.
Everyone needs to know that prescription drugs ruin lives. Pills are right up there next to heroin and meth. People justify by saying “it’s medicine” and “doctors prescribe them so they can’t be dangerous. Take it from me, don’t do pills. They will sneak up on you and take control of your life without you even knowing it.