Former fentanyl addict discusses addiction, recovery: ‘These drugs will sink their claws into you’

Liam O’Brien is a previous fentanyl addict. He observed his dealer on Craigslist. The first time he employed fentanyl, he nearly overdosed and vowed not to do it once again.

“Ordinarily, when you get superior, there are intervals of time when you are in and out of consciousness,” O’Brien stated. “But when you slide out, you are teetering on the borderline of overdosing. With fentanyl, I blinked. And when I opened my eyes, five several hours experienced passed, and I felt my respiratory restart.”

“It scared me. And I instructed myself, ‘OK, I will not want to use this any longer.’ And then, the upcoming working day, when I woke up, I now paid $100, so I am going to just complete the relaxation of it. And which is how it started off.”

Soon after smoking fentanyl powder a second time, O’Brien was hooked.


An estimated 150 people die every day from synthetic opioid-related overdose deaths. 

An approximated 150 men and women die every day from synthetic opioid-related overdose fatalities. 
(University of Houston)

“It is huge peace, relief,” he mentioned. “You might be warm, you are cozy. Whichever you have heading on in your daily life, you don’t definitely worry about it anymore. You’re wholly information.”

Like several teens, O’Brien began experimenting with medications at large school events — marijuana followed by prescription supplements. By age 19, he experimented with heroin and transitioned to fentanyl at 21.

“When you are addicted, effects do not make any difference,” he mentioned. “I fully understood at a issue that I was going to die, but I essential to get significant. So I chased it irrespective.

“As soon as you consider the medications, you you should not get to select what comes about following. You feel you have it below regulate. You’re youthful, you sense invincible. You feel like it is really your selection. But these prescription drugs will sink their claws into you. And extremely immediately, before you notice it, it’ll transform into a little something that is completely out of command.”

Rainbow fentanyl 

Rainbow fentanyl 
(Drug Enforcement Administration)

O’Brien worked as a machinist full time, but each individual penny he attained went to acquire medications or gas to buy prescription drugs. He tried getting clean up on his personal but failed. 

What does withdrawal sense like?

“You feel like you are heading to die, but you do not. It is like obtaining a entire-entire body flu and your bones are aching, and you get hot, you get cold, you might be sweating, you are constipated, you happen to be all kinds of items, but you just have to sit via it and endure.”

Legislation ENFORCEMENT Organizations Across THE Region Manufactured Many Record-Environment FENTANYL BUSTS IN 2022

O’Brien went back to employing, but with his mother’s enable, he entered a 5-working day detox at a treatment method centre followed by 18 months of structured residing at the Clearview-New Everyday living sober dwelling house in Los Angeles.

“Individuals imagine human beings are like cars, that you can just drive by a vehicle clean,” suggests Howard Barker of Clearview. “But which is not how it operates.”

Barker says avoidance commences with loved ones customers becoming interested, diligent, open and observant with their teen. 

“When you have a loved 1 that is struggling, and you suspect that they are hurting, get them assistance,” he says. “Will not hold out for the overdose. Don’t wait for the incarceration. Never wait around for the felony. Do not wait around for the DUI.” 

Fentanyl test strips are considered drug paraphernalia in many states. 

Fentanyl take a look at strips are viewed as drug paraphernalia in a lot of states. 

Cure plans long lasting 30 to 60 times are not plenty of, Barker mentioned. You may possibly get off drugs and independent from some terrible influences, but it is really not plenty of time to alter behavior and realize the underlying behavioral troubles that set you there in the very first put.  

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“30. Sixty. Ninety days. You sit, check out Tv set, drink Kool-Support and consume cafeteria food items,” O’Brien said of traditional rehab. “When insurance is up, you are out.

“Right here, it is not just about acquiring off of prescription drugs. It is about studying how to dwell and learning how to be all suitable with you so that you will not need to think of outdoors matters.”