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Addiction Recovery Research Center

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute

2 Riverside Circle

Roanoke, VA  24016

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Phone: 540-315-0205

Email: iqrr@vtc.vt.edu

Media Inquiries:

John Pastor, FBRI Director of Communications

Phone: 540-526-2222

Email: jdpastor@vt.edu

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rebecca's Story 

“I became ill in 2004 with several serious ailments, for almost the whole year. Just when I was starting to feel normal again I developed some neck/shoulder pain. I tried seeing a chiropractor. After three unsuccessful months, I finally went to a Orthopaedic doctor.

The Orthopaedic doctor sent me for some testing and I was diagnosed with thoracic outlet and no-lateral Carole tunnel. My shoulder pain steadily increased and I was not interested in surgery anytime soon. To help with the consistent pain the doctor put me on 5mg Percocet. Up until that point in my life I took very little medicine. Ever.

Over the years my pain got progressively worse while I developed more health issues. Bursitis in my shoulders and very painful fibromyalgia. Over the next few years my tolerance grew and so did my dosage. Then I developed Osteoarthritis in my knees. Ibuprofen only helped a little. Sometimes coming down my steps was so painful, I’d cry.

Well nine years later I found myself still taking prescription pain meds and I was still not open to the surgery for the thorasic outlet. By this time my tolerance had built until I was at 30mg of oxycodone, 2 at a time. I could usually take 2 in the morning, usually my most painful time of day and maybe get by with only needing one more later in the day. Two if I had a really physical day. My doctor was prescribing me 180 pills a month but I was only taking between 90 – 120 a month.

It wasn’t until the last year on the prescription pain meds, that I started to abuse them and it wasn’t the amount but the way I was taking them. A friend told me if I crushed them and snorted them they would work faster. During that time my husband had been having problems and we had separated. We were separated for 18 months. When we got back together, the first few months, we were friends and roommates. He is the reason I decided to come off the meds and reevaluate my medical issues. I knew I wouldn’t be able to just stop taking the meds cold turkey so I did my research and found a doctor to help me.

I met with the doctor and told her everything. Even how I had been taking the medicine. We discussed the two options I could use to wean off, Methadone and Suboxone. I chose Suboxone. I asked my doctor if I could wean off in about two months and she stated she thought it would probably take me three months due to how long I had been on and how high of a dose I was on. Well lo and behold I weaned off in three WEEKS. I had no side effects during the three week wean except maybe a little less energy. I did have some side effects after the three WEEKS but it was only diarrhea and a lot of yawning. Those two side effects were completely gone in less than six months.

So that is my experience with getting addicted to prescription medicine and getting off the medicine. There really is a lot more to my story. Enough so, that I could write a book I’m sure but it’s late, and I’m tired. If you want to know the rest, like how my husband is in Recovery too and has been since 2006 or about my DWI, I got in 2012, I’m willing to share. The funny thing is I didn’t drink a lot and I don’t miss it. Or how I am in a 12-Step program, my choice, and I like it. Please don’t hesitate to ask. I’ve always been a open book.”