Oct. 25, 2022 – I came from an upper-middle-class family. I excelled in school as a popular, straight-A student. I was a cheerleader, an equestrian, and a volleyball player. To the people around me, I did not fit the description of a drug addict.

At 8 years old, I tried an opioid for the first time. It was an expired Darvocet in my grandmother’s cabinet. The bottle had an illustration of a woozy person and the disclaimer “may cause drowsiness.” That’s exactly what I wanted to feel.

At the time, I didn’t know that I was experiencing a panic attack, but because the Darvocet created a buffer between me and those overwhelming feelings, I began to look for anything that was labeled “may cause drowsiness” in any medicine cabinet I had access to.

At 13, I was introduced to heroin by my then boyfriend. Ultimately, I was looking for anything to provide an exit and create distance from my childhood trauma and mental-health issues. In hindsight, if topics like mental health were discussed at an early age in my home, it may have been helpful. Much of my drug-seeking was an attempt to silence suicidal ideation and shame about past trauma.


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