Prescription drugs have now passed street drugs as the method of choice for most drug abusers in the United States. There are more deaths caused by prescription drugs than cocaine and heroin each year. 20% of teens say they have taken a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription. Those facts don’t surprise Porter-Starke Addictions Counselor, Leo Smith.
“It’s one of the problems that people don’t see or that they don’t want to see,” said Smith. “When you get a drug from a doctor and it’s prescribed it’s like, ‘I got it from a doctor and everything’s good’ – until it starts to turn on you. This is a huge problem in Starke County. This is a huge problem everywhere. I don’t care if it’s Starke County, LaPorte County, or Porter County. It’s everywhere.”
Over 20 people died of overdoses last year in Starke County.
“That’s my understanding and in the last year, that’s 20 that they could verify,” continued Smith. “If you’re not on the front line, it does knock your socks off, but I’ve got to be honest with you, it doesn’t surprise me. I hear it first hand. I have the longest grapevine in the whole world as far as what’s going on with the prescription drug use and I hear about it all the time.”
“I got back from vacation after two weeks and the first client I saw said, ‘Did you hear about so-and-so?’ They had overdosed the Friday before I came back.”
“I haven’t fixed you after eight weeks of treatment. After eight weeks of treatment, hopefully you’ll walk out of there with some really good tools. I was laughing with some clients they other day and I said, ‘You know, I’m going to give you some Craftsmans and some Snap-ons, some Milwaukee and DeWalts, but you have to apply them and you have to use them.’ When you walk out of here, you’ll know what you are and what you need to do. Recovery is progressive. It’s a day at a time and it’s a life long process.”
Leo Smith will be talking more about drug abuse next week on WKVI. Leo Smith will be presenting a Lunch and Learn discussion on Tuesday, April 19th at the Knox Community Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. He will discuss relapse for persons recovering from substance abuse. Call 772-4040 for more information or to reserve a seat.