Dan always loved to hike and rock climb, and when some of his peers were initiating substance use in high school he never joined in. But at the age of twenty he was in a devastating car accident, and began misusing the muscle relaxants he was prescribed for his back injury.
He suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, though was never referred to a psychiatrist or behavioral health provider for his worsening symptoms. He started drinking alcohol daily and had trouble maintaining a job, he was isolated from his friends and family.
One night in a bar someone offered him cocaine, which turned out to be laced with heroin after that, he would do anything to again experience the feeling of warmth and forgetting his pain that came with using opioids.
For the next fifteen years, Dan injected heroin and fentanyl multiple times a day, with a few brief periods of abstinence during incarceration.
Dan was homeless and hadn’t seen his family in years. He wanted to stop using opioids, but withdrawal was excruciating. He was arrested for drug possession, but this time, instead of jail was enrolled in an alternative to incarceration program, requiring him to engage in and remain compliant with comprehensive addiction and mental health treatment to avoid prosecution.
Dan’s case manager helped him to enroll in a methadone maintenance program, which was coupled with partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment. After stabilizing on methadone, Dan’s life began to improve, and he gained stable housing and steady employment for the first time since the car accident.
Dan went on to slowly transition to buprenorphine then extended-release naltrexone, and remains actively engaged with mental health care and SMART recovery support. As an essential part of his recovery Dan does not use alcohol, marijuana, or any other drugs.
SMART Recovery (ongoing)