Spokane man fights drug addiction with local program

Local man fights addiction (9-28-17)

SPOKANE, Wash.—Washington state has been battling the war against drugs for years, and so have many addicts who call Washington home.

From that on-going fight one local man, who said he wished to remain anonymous to protect his identity in a treatment program,  emerged from what he called “the shame of 25 years on drugs.”

The local man said a lock box full of prescription drugs became a way of life for him.

He said years of opioids led to fentanyl.

"I'm going 'I can't stop drugs, I can't stop drugs, I can't stop drugs," he said.

He said the drugs took many things from him. He lost his kids, he lost several jobs, and found himself in many car crashes, one that even caused brain damage, according to the man.

The man said after 12 years he was tired of sinking and ready to swim.

"It was about the lowest point of my entire life, I had resorted to everything that you can possibly imagine to try to get my life straightened out," he said.

He said that was when he found the Opioid Treatment Program at the Spokane Regional Health District.

For a while, he found himself going into the health district everyday for one dose of methadone, still a drug, but legally prescribed in place of what he had been taking, explained the man. After years in this program, he can now use the drug at home.

He said the point of the program is to slowly decrease doses, until drugs no longer rule his life.

"It's just been nothing but positive," he said. "You can have a life, you can get back to a job and have a family and drive and be dependable. You can be trustworthy again, you can be happy again, and you can make friendships again."

Officials from the health district said the methadone treatment is met with counseling, random drug tests and other medical assistance. 

 Participants could be subject to random dose checks, to make sure they are not taking more than their dose or tampering with their doses.

The program reported it was currently helping over 950 people in the area, but there is a waiting list of at least 100 people. 

Lawmakers are also doing what they can to fight the opioid crisis. 

A bill passed in Washington state that required providers to follow more strict guidelines as they prescribe medication, because research showed prescriptions are how it starts for many addicts. 

 

© 2017 KREM-TV


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