ABOVE PHOTO: Ray Lucas.
A Silent Epidemic
Prescription painkiller dependence has reached epidemic levels in the United States. In 2010, 12 million Americans reported misuse of prescription painkillers in just one year. Former pro-football quarterback and current sports analyst Ray Lucas fell victim to these statistics. After facing his own addiction, he sought help and is sharing his story in the hopes that Americans will take a stand and tackle the addiction problem.
“When it comes to opioid painkiller addiction, it doesn’t matter how you got there, it’s what you do about it. If you think you might have a problem, don’t feel like you’re alone because help is available,” says Lucas. “There are more options than you might realize, starting with online resources like TurnToHelp.com.”
When Lucas decided to tackle his prescription painkiller addiction, his first step was to find the right doctor to help him manage his addiction and increase his chances of recovery.
The Risk of Addiction
Lucas’ addiction began innocently, just like many others, from pain management after a minor surgery. During his football career Lucas sustained significant injuries to his neck and was treated with various opioid painkillers, which is where his exposure to opioids began. Realizing that he had a problem was the first step to overcoming his addiction.
“There are things you can do to find relief from addiction,” says Dr. Carlos Tirado, Clinical Director of Chemical Dependency Services at Seton Shoal Creek Hospital and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Austin. He continues, “The first step is to identify if you or your loved one display any of the symptoms associated with the disease. Some easily identifiable signs are: drowsiness and lack of energy, inability to concentrate, social behavioral changes, and changes in appearance.”
Finding the Right Team
Lucas knows well the challenges of overcoming addiction and he’s not alone. While athletes and celebrities with addiction often create headlines, the real growing epidemic of prescription painkiller addiction is among mainstream America.
“I was in trouble. I was addicted to prescription painkillers. I wasn’t a father to my children or a husband to my wife. But I found help, and I was able to discover that there was life after my addiction. It is easy to find a doctor who can talk to you about treatment options.”
Tackling the Problem
Lucas’ success in tackling his addiction started by recognizing his symptoms and then finding the right team to help him. It is important to start by finding the right doctor to help battle the problem of addiction – because no one can do it alone. Visit TurnToHelp.com to learn the facts about opioid painkiller dependence and the different ways to get help – including those in a private setting.
“Americans need to address the issue openly with their doctors. Addiction is a brain disease. Not a moral failing,” Dr. Tirado affirms. “Do not wait to take action. Finding a doctor who can help you address your addiction is an essential step on the road to recovery.”