Archive for the ‘Personal Stories’ Category

A Story About an Addicted Police Officer and his Struggle to Get Well

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

It’s sad to see when a public servant with a great career gets caught up in the world of drugs, and not just drugs but outright addiction. It’s a tragedy when addiction can flip someone’s life upside down and ruin just about everything for them. In this case it is about an Ontario police officer who was the youngest ever cadet on the Toronto police force at only 17 years of age. Officer Peter Moore had a distinguished career as a cop, but when he became addicted to prescription painkillers his life was changed for ever and he may as well have been shooting up heroin due to the severity of his opioid addiction. Officer Moore’s lowest point was perhaps when he bought illegal medications of an informant who was a well know drug dealer. That is perhaps the absolute low for Officer Moore who described his actions as “That’s as bad as it gets”.

Officer Moore acknowledges that he did not have a good career, he had an excellent one because of his quick progression through the ranks as a cop. He was a detective constable before the age of 30 and even worked in the tactical division as well as the police force’s intelligence unit. Things turned sour very quickly after a terrible car accident that left Officer Moore in rough shape with an injured back that had already been a problem for him in the past. But due to his devotion to the police force, and with yet another promotion on the way, he ignored the pain and returned to work just two weeks following the accident. In his mind he believed he could simply get through the pain as he didn’t believe it was that serious. Unfortunately he was wrong. The pain intensified to a level that required him to take two Percocets a day because of his doctor’s concerns. Sadly that number multiplied to 18 pills per day very quickly and eventually turned into a full blown addiction that he simply couldn’t handle on his own. He voluntarily checked himself into one of Canada’s top rehabilitation centers where he was treated with methadone which was an ordeal that was truly a difficult and trying experience for him. His methadone treatment lasted about a week and upon leaving the facility he promptly returned to work. Sadly he continued to abuse prescription medications in order to deal with the pain he was still experiencing after two failed back surgeries. Due to this he landed himself back into rehab, this time for 30 days. He was off the percocet now and he was completely off painkillers until his doctor was introduced to a new a new drug called OxyContin. His doctor assured him that this new drug was slow-release, and therefore could not lead to addiction, but Officer Moore discovered that if you bit down on the pill the effects were felt much sooner, and he quickly spiraled out of control once again. Officer Moore began using his badge as a means to get multiple prescriptions around the province until one doctor caught on and informed the police department about Moore’s sketchy drug seeking behavior.

Officer Moore was never suspended or fired due to his actions, but decided to leave the police force in the late 1990s. For several years he continued to use methadone to treat his pain and was eventually helped by a doctor who specialized in anesthesia.

The main part to take away from this story is that pain is a real problem for many people, and the drugs available are available for a reason, but the tragedy is the number of people becoming addicted and never addressing their main concern which is pain. If the source of pain is identified and treated effectively then the possibility of addiction goes away. Not everyone’s pain can be treated promptly or even years down the road, and that is perhaps the saddest part of addiction because it’s nearly impossible to manage certain kinds of pain without the drugs, no matter how much rehab or therapy is available.

 

VIA:MYKAWARTHA

The Real Breaking Bads

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Arguably one of TVs most watched series Breaking Bad and main character Walter White have entertained the masses for the past few years on AMC and Netflix. But did you know there are a few real life bad breakers who have been brought to the attention of the media recently? Lets take a look.

A Montana man in his 50′s also named Walter White has been sentenced to 12 years on drug and fire arm charges for dealing what the DEA calls: an “extraordinary” quantity of methamphetamine. Oddly enough, just like the fictional Walter White, the real White said that drug dealing wasn’t something he would ever do, but once he started he became “addicted” to selling meth. Although the fictional Mr. White was a high school chemistry teacher and literally brewed his own methamphetamine, the real Walter White did not cook up his own supply, but instead dealt the drugs who were supplied to him by a counter-part in California. Upon the real Mr. White’s arrest the DEA and police found two handguns, $15,000 and four ounces of meth, which the judge involved in the case said was nothing in comparison to the 32 pounds of meth he is accused of dealing all across the state.

Via The Independent:

Judge says TV character’s namesake distributed an ‘extraordinary’ quantity of methamphetamine across Montana

Second, we meet a Mr. Stephen Doran who teaches math at the Match Charter School in Boston, MA. Mr. Doran, aged 57, has cancer, just like Walter White in Breaking Bad, but the similarities don’t end there. Mr. Doran was arrested by state troopers after they discovered 480 grams of methamphetamine in his possession which were mailed to him at his school by the US Postal Service. The police have said that Mr. Doran was in possession of $50,000 worth of meth, and after searching his home found $10,000 in cash and an additional 38 grams of meth.

Via Daily Mail:

When he appeared in court, bald-headed Doran’s lawyer said he has undergone months of chemotherapy for stage three cancer. ‘His life was on the line – literally,’ he said.

Third, we have Mr. Dicky Joe Jackson, who was spending time in jail for moving a kilo of marijuana in the late 80′s when he found out his son Cole was dying of a rare condition that required chemotherapy and eventually an expensive bone marrow transplant ($25o,000). Because the family had lost it’s health insurance, they were forced to sell off all of their possessions as well as asking friends and even celebrities for help, but in the end they were still $150,000 short of paying for the operation and the expensive treatment that would follow. That’s when a dealer Mr. Jackson knew offered to pay him to transport drugs from California to Texas for $5000 per trip. Jackson made the journeys for a year before being caught.

Via RT:

“I was desperate,” Jackson told Salon. “I had to get the money. Before I had kids, I’d never known there was a love like that. Once you have kids the whole game changes. There ain’t nothing you wouldn’t do for them especially if they’re sick.

“Drink”: An Introduction to the book by Ann Johnston

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Ann Dowsett Johnston’s book “Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol” reveals the dark side of female drinking. She epitomizes the growing relationship between women and the bottle with a continuous look back at her childhood, early adulthood and a more recent partnership with dependence. Ms. Johnston’s interesting and vibrant description of her happy childhood makes us wonder why she ever turned to drinking, but throughout the book she reveals that she grew up under the shadow of alcoholism, being raised by two alcoholics. She elegantly separates the differences between her parents drinking habits: Her mother would spend her nights wandering the halls with a drink, and was more obviously a problem drinker. Whereas her father was much more reserved and secretive, although he eventually died from a neurological disease known as Korsakoff’s Syndrome which is caused by “chronic alcohol abuse and/or severe malnutrition.”

Ms. Johnston’s book often focuses on her personal journey to sobriety, which she accomplished after rehabilitation in 2008. She points out through her experiences as well as those she interviewed that women drink for many reasons, and most of these reasons are not the same for men. Many women alcoholics, including Ms. Johnston, drank to cover up pain, emotions and as an escape from their troublesome realities. One of the women she sits down with at the beginning of the book goes by Rebecca, and she captures the essence as to why many young women turn to alcohol as well as develop eating disorders and drug habits. Rebecca tells Ms. Johnston that she moved around a lot as a child, and desperately wanted to fit in. She had a weight problem and was heavily influenced by the media at the time. She drank herself into blackouts as well as becoming anorexic and bulimic. Eventually she moved from vodka to whiskey (for breakfast) and began using hard drugs like cocaine.

Other key points that Ms. Johnston makes include the correlation between sexual abuse and women’s drinking and alcoholism. A number of the women she interviews admit to being sexually violated and abused, some of which were violated at a very young age and subsequently began drinking in their teens and even earlier. Another issue that is well diagnosed by this book is that of the effect of alcohol on unborn babies. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (Or FASD’s) as she describes them are a growing problem, especially with the increase in drinking by women in the Western world.

Another issue discussed in the book, an especially important one in fact, is how “big alcohol” similar to “big tobacco” 40 years ago has a deeply concerning agenda and an army of lobbyists to carry it out. Ms. Johnston points out in her book that a few years ago the alcohol companies took aim at men by using images of women and sex. The alcohol industry now realizes that it needs to sell to women, and they will do so with virtually a free pass on TV and social networking sites.

Before I conclude this introduction I think it is important to discuss one other aspect of the book which is the stigma surrounding women’s alcoholism. Towards the end of the book Ms. Johnston reveals that she asked many women whether they’d rather be viewed as depressed rather than alcoholic. The clear majority said they would rather be known as depressed than a drunk.

I wont reveal anymore of the book as it would ruin the experience, and it is without a doubt a “sobering” tale in which science, personal testimony and interviews merge to address a growing problem in our society.

Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston

Over the course of December we will be exploring some of the issues Ann Johnston raised in her recent book “Drink”. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or concerns we can help you with.

Review of “Drink” – A Must Read for Women Flirting with Addiction

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Ann Dowsett Johnston began a new professional role in Montreal in 2006. It was supposed to be an excellent adventure and a great opportunity, but Montreal can be brutal for an alcoholic, especially for one who is lonely and new. With alcohol pretty much everywhere in Montreal it was difficult for Ms. Johnston to avoid drinking, and thus destroying one of the main reasons she embarked on this move to a new city and a new job, that reason being a hopeful “geographic cure” to her drinking problem. A cure, that she now knows never works. “For me, it happened this way: I took a geographic cure to fix what I thought was wrong with my life, and the cure failed.”

The focus of this article is of course the new book “Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol” by Ann Johnston. It may seem like another self help book, but reading it lets you begin to understand the stories and health concerns of both men and women struggling with addiction, and casts light on the growing concern of women’s drinking habits. It is a must read for those who have young daughters soon to be in high school or college, where the most binge drinking takes place. “I have seen a girl as young as seventeen and women in their twenties with end-stage liver disease. Alcohol dependence is setting in when youngsters are still in their teens.” -Sir Ian Gilmore, past president of the Royal College of Physicians.

It is noted in both the article and the book that binge drinking among girls and women is becoming something of an epidemic in the United States. Of the 23,000 deaths related to women and alcohol in the USA each year, half are due to binge drinking. It is noted in the book that binge drinking and chronic alcoholism are in fact two different monsters, as 80% of binge drinkers are not alcoholics. Two more disturbing facts are that 9 out of 10 college campus rapes are due to alcohol and a new term called “drunkorexia” is affecting young women who will avoid eating in order to go out and drink without caring about the calories in the booze. “In recent years, as the incidence of eating disorders has increased, so too has the correlation with binge drinking. More than 40 percent of bulimics will have a history of alcohol abuse or dependence at some point in their lives.”

While there may be a few references and passages in the book that make the reader a little confused, I firmly believe that this book should be read by women, young girls and parents everywhere. The growing problem of women’s alcoholism needs to be addressed and the work of Ann Johnston is an excellent new weapon in the arsenal to fight the disease of addiction. The combination of binge drinking, alcoholism and the fact that alcohol companies are now taking aim at their new market, women, it is important that addicts worldwide who have conquered this disease offer their knowledge, wisdom and personal truths that aided them on the path to recovery speak out to those still struggling, something Ms. Johnston does in this book, and she does it admirably.

“New sobriety is a challenging experience if ever there was one: your first Christmas, your first New Year’s, your first wedding or funeral. I have never felt more naked, exposed to my feelings, raw.” -Ann Dowsett Johnston.

Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston

Famous Parents: A Famous Breakdown

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Lindsay Lohan: There seems to be a correlation between fame and addiction.

Growing up with famous parents, particularly parents who have it all and are considered ‘perfect’ celebrities may not be as easy as we think. Chloe Lattanzi is the daughter of Matt Lattanzi and mother Olivia Newton-John, who both starred in Grease. Chloe received her first record deal at age fifteen, but as she entered young adult hood she was spending much of her earnings on cocaine and vodka. Similar to other substance abusers her, meltdown in 2012 was the result of pressure, alcohol and prescription drugs. Following her meltdown Chloe entered rehab and began to consider her problems while comparing them to other celebrities and to the ‘celebrity cult’ that she believes is harmful to many young stars.

Via Huffington Post:

“Fame totally messes you up,” she said. “I don’t blame my mother for my problems, but I would never want to be famous or raise a child of my own around the cult of celebrity. It ruins lives. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is that you can’t be fragile in this business, or else you end up like Lindsay Lohan.”

It may seem that Lattanzi was taking a shot at Lindsay Lohan, which these days isn’t uncommon, but she goes on to say that she understands the addiction cycle of young celebrities, particularly those who have grown up with famous parents. Again Lattanzi compared herself to other celebrities and made a solid point regarding famous people and their difficult recoveries from drugs and alcohol. She says that young stars like her and Nicole Richie for instance have had to deal with their dependence problems in the spotlight, which is added pressure that an addict doesn’t need on the path to recovery. Lattanzi entered rehab in August of 2012 and was there for seven months, which is an encouraging end to her struggle, but I ask you this: Should celebrities, who are constantly monitored, have to deal with their addiction problems under the scrutiny of the public? Is it any of our business? Or are their famous breakdowns just part of the show for us?