5 Stereotypes about drug addiction from a former addict

Stereotypes About Drug Addiction

GREENSBORO, NC – On the one-year-anniversary of Prince’s death, there are still many fans who are shocked at the way the beloved singer died. There’s also many unanswered questions surrounding his death.

An affidavit unsealed Monday showed a doctor who saw Prince in the days before he died had prescribed oxycodone under the name of Prince’s friend.

The documents suggest Prince was struggling with an addiction.

Prince, 57, was found in an elevator at his Paisley Park home. Autopsy results showed he died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic drug 50 times more powerful than heroin. Oxycodone was not listed as a cause of Prince’s death. The documents don’t say where Prince got the fentanyl, which was illegally obtained. 

Numerous pills in various containers were found in Prince's home. Some were in prescription bottles under the name of Prince’s longtime friend, Kirk Johnson.  Some were counterfeit and, according to CBS News, at least one counterfeit pill tested positive for fentanyl.

Waylon Hinson, Founder of Legacy Freedom Treatment Center is a former addict himself. Hinson said he grew up around substance abuse and began abusing alcohol and drugs at the age of 11.

“Cocaine, alcohol and benzos. I tried all kinds of things and those worked for me,” Hinson explained.

Benzodiazepines, is an anxiety medication which, combined with cocaine and alcohol, gave Hinson the feeling he desired.

“What I wanted to feel was nothing.”

Hinson is now clean and started the substance abuse treatment center in 2014. He discussed with News 2, five stereotypes that can harm a person’s ability to seek help.

Opioid Addicts Cannot Function

Hinson said opioid addicts, or really, any addict can function in normal society.

“I can tell you that on drugs and alcohol I started many businesses. I made a lot of money. I had a lot of success. I was miserable and wanted to die but most everybody outside of me never knew that.”

Hinson explained the idea that images of a person in a dark alley high on drugs, or a person being a recluse because they're an addict doesn't accurately represent the people struggling with addiction.

The Reason Someone Is an Addict Is Obvious

Hinson explained the reason someone begins using drugs or becomes addicted is not always a straightforward answer.

“When somebody like Prince dies of a drug overdose, it makes a lot of us look at that and think wow that person had everything. Why would they do this? Why would they use drugs? We never know what’s going on inside of someone.”

Drug addiction, according to Hinson, typically starts from some sort of trauma.

 “It can be big or small. What’s traumatic to me may not be traumatic to you but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is someone went through something and we have to find out what it was and resolve it.”

People Struggling With Addiction Want To Die and Don’t Want Your Help

Hinson said people struggling with addiction are not always suicidal and most times want to live a better life. They just may not know how or if anyone is willing to help.

“I went to the emergency room for drug overdoses dozens of times before a doctor asked me if I wanted to get help. They always asked me if I had a problem. I always said I did because I knew it, but no one ever asked me if I wanted to get help.”

Hinson said once a doctor offered him help, he began to seek several different treatment options until he kicked his addiction.

Parents, Friends and Family are the Only Ones Who Can Help

Most of our lives, we depend on the people around us to lift us up when we have a problem. However, Hinson explained, a person struggling with drug addiction may not be ready to lean on the people closest to them.

“Every time, the parent has to love and accept but we also might not be the best person to talk to an individual about getting help or about the problem.”

Hinson said parents, friends and family can seek a third-party, a counselor, a former addict or someone the person might find influential to help them start the conversation about seeking help.

Drug Addiction Is Easy To Spot

As Hinson explained earlier, the stigma surrounding drug addiction can keep people from coming forward. It can also keep parents, family and friends in the dark about their loved one's problem.

“We have to pay attention and notice what’s going on. Not be naïve as parents, as friends, as family members, as partners and talk to somebody about what’s actually happening."

Hinson also warned embarrassment about addiction or a loved ones' addiction can be deadly, as the problem would only continue.

“We have to have the conservation and we have to honest with ourselves and have to move beyond the idea of, I wonder if my son or daughter uses drugs and alcohol because maybe I didn’t do the best job as a parent. I would prefer to deal with that now while they are alive than after they died.”

If you’re looking for help and would like to try outpatient treatment, Legacy Freedom Treatment Center has locations in Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Wilmington and Columbus, Ohio

© 2017 WFMY-TV


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