Dec. 16, 2021 – And in a world of fraying social bonds, economic vulnerability and increased isolation due to the pandemic, an addiction-driven feeling of being loved adds to our understanding of why opioid overdose deaths soared 30% last year. But when we say taking opioids can feel like love, what does that really mean? What does it really feel like in your body and soul?

KATIE MACK: I have always felt out of my body. I haven’t felt comfortable in my skin for all of my life. This idea that, like when you’re using there is nothing but the present. It just is as close to feeling at home than any other place.  I very specifically remember the first time I used OxyContin. I just remember being at this boy’s house who I was in love with since I was nine or something. And he was 16, I was 15. It was like the upstairs, [attic] part. He was like, Yo, you want some? And I said, Yeah. For some reason, I wasn’t getting what I needed to feel loved.

And so there was no one hug that was going to solve that … feeling of [not] being loved. There was no like hi-five or like soccer team that was going to make me feel like I was part of a community. I had already sort of like developed whatever pathways that had made me feel othered. And then I got this whole other new roadmap and then I could just drive down that. And it was faster and it was easier.


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