Daily dose of opioids: the true cost of addiction

PADUCAH, KY – If you have leftover pain pills sitting in your medicine cabinet, you could unintentionally be contributing to the country’s opioid epidemic.

Studies show more than 2 million Americans abuse prescription pain bills.

Saturday, Oct. 28, you have a chance to safely throw away old medicine from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Click here to find a location near you.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson says “disposing of leftover painkillers or other addictive medicines in the house is one of the best ways to prevent a member of your family from becoming a victim of the opioid epidemic.”

You’ve seen the words “epidemic” and “crisis” used alongside opioids in both national and state media outlets. You’ve also seen a political movement recently to end to problem. In fact, Thursday both President Donald Trump and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear made announcements to combat the problem.

Eric Miller is a director at Lifeline Ministries in Paducah. It’s an organization aimed at helping people get clean from alcohol or drug addiction.

His responsibilities include making sure the people in the program have a structure they stick to daily. He also teaches classes and interview potential enrollees.

Miller also happens to be a former addict. “It doesn’t matter who you are, how rich you are, how poor you are, what color you are. If it’s going to take your life, it’s going to take it over. It don’t matter who you are, where you come from,” he said.

He was 19 when he tried half a pain pill. He said it seemed cool at the time. What seemed cool led to a life of crime. “It was pills over everything. I gave my kids up, because I wasn’t ready to get sober. Me and my wife split up,” he said.

He stole, traded, and doctor-shopped for pills. At times, he said, he wanted to sober up, but the withdrawals were so painful he couldn’t.

Things are better today. He’s been clean for four years. He and his wife are happily married. Eventually, he was able to get his children back. “I said I’d never be addicted to drugs in my life. And I took that one, and it happened so fast. I don’t know what happened. My whole life changed from that day,” Miller said.

He said he hopes his message helps others. “I don’t think about getting high no more. I don’t. I’m not saying that I’m fixed, because if you ever think you’ve got it made and you’re done, you’re crazy,” he said.

It’s a daily struggle that he doesn’t have to fight alone.

Click here for more information about Lifeline ministries, including the organizations addiction recovery programs and contact information.

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