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Prescription drug abuse grew to cocaine and heroin use


(Virginia)

My son has been taking opiates for at least 3 years for chronic pain from Mitochondrial Myopathy. He has used morphine, oxycotin, and oxycodone over the years in very high doses and recently has started to crush the pills and snort or inject. His psychiatrist and pain doctor stopped seeing him about 6 months ago so he turned to the street to purchase oxycodone and more recently heroin and cocaine.

We have tried to get him into rehab but all of the programs we have found require complete abstinence which won't work in this case due to the severe pain from the Mitochondrial Myopathy. To make things worse, my son shifts between seeking help and denying he has a problem. What can be done to get his life on track before he dies?

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Your son needs medical support
by: Debbie Wicker

Reading your son's story leaves me with more questions than answers. If you can get the true answers to these questions it might help you choose your best course of action:

1. Why did his psychiatrist and pain doctor stop seeing him? Can you take him to a different pain specialist for assessment and support?

Opiate addiction generally makes pain WORSE. Once addicted, opiates attack the brain and often exacerbate pain which is why your son needs to find an alternative to manage his pain. Hopefully, a different pain doctor would be willing to help him to do that.

2. What is his prognosis?

Opiate addiction is fatal. So assuming his Mitochondrial Myopathy is chronic and not fatal, he may have to go into rehab for his opiate addiction to save his life. Opiate addiction can only be treated with abstinence.

It sounds like a no-win scenario but it doesn't have to be. I have seen people with chronic pain issues get off opiates and use other methods for managing their pain. However, each of us unique, that's why getting the best medical support you can find for your son is likely your best option.

But remember opiate addiction is a disease that attacks the brain and CONVINCES us that we MUST use. So your son will have to go completely through the withdrawal process to totally understand how much of his pain is being caused by the Mitochondrial Myopathy and how much by his opiate addiction.

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