As a teen, Brandon was a BMX rider — bicycle motocross or stunt riding — and that led to him tearing ligaments in his knee. The injury resulted in his being prescribed opiate pain medication and that started him on the road to addiction.
Today, Brandon shows his BMX roots by sporting a knit cap pulled low with wild dark strands of hair flying every which way. Now in his early 20s, he still has a boyish look, with glossy dark eyes and a couple of piercings here and there. Brandon has just finished recovering his sobriety at one of the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers.
When he hurt his knee, he had to have reconstructive surgery. He took the opiates after the surgery and then kept taking them after the knee had healed because he realized that he felt better than when he didn’t take them. He never knew they were addictive.
Pain Pill Use Becomes Pain Pill Abuse
He kept hurting himself after that so kept being prescribed more pain medication for awhile. When he was finally taken off the drugs, he felt sick and didn’t realize he was in withdrawal.
His friends at the time were abusing opiate pain medication so he began to abuse them at social events. While he was sixteen years old, he began to snort OxyContin. Every time he did, he didn’t feel bad or sick any more. He was also drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
His parents took notice and sent him to a ninety-day rehab when he was seventeen. It might have helped if Brandon wanted to quit but he didn’t. He didn’t yet see the problem that others saw. As soon as he got out, he was smoking marijuana and drinking and soon gravitated back to pain pill abuse.
Brandon Makes the Switch to Heroin — and Hard-Core Addiction
He was a senior in high school when he started snorting heroin. There was plenty of heroin in the Richmond, Virginia area where he was living. After a month of snorting heroin, his friends told him that injecting it was “the way to go.” That was the beginning of his hard-core addiction.
From time to time, he’d get himself into a rehab program that would give him buprenorphine in the form of Suboxone. That would get him off heroin and prevent withdrawal sickness. He didn’t really give any thought to the fact that he was still on an opioid drug every day. He just knew that he felt all right and thought that meant he was doing better than when he was on heroin.
But then there were always the friends using heroin. He kept slipping back into heroin use and would sell his Suboxone while he was using the heroin. Or he’d take some Suboxone in the morning so he could maintain while he was at work hanging drywall for his father and then when he got home, he would use heroin. While doubling up on opiates like this can bring about an overdose, he was just too lost to think about it or care.
Only Purpose in Life: Getting More Heroin
His only purpose in going to work was so that he could continue to buy drugs. Friday nights and Saturdays were devoted to partying with drugs but by Sunday his money would be gone.
About the time he turned 21, there was a break in the addiction when he went to a long-term rehab for young people. But even this eleven month break did not give him what he needed. Just a few weeks before he was due to graduate, he and another person at the rehab drove away in one of the rehab’s vans and got drunk. Brandon left this rehab the next day.
The alcohol abuse continued after he left but then progressed to heroin use within a month. The next two years were devoted to heroin abuse. He would get a prescription for Suboxone from a doctor but didn’t take it unless he could not get his hands on heroin. He was always “scheming and scamming,” as he put it, figuring out how to get money for heroin.
The Day Finally Comes that Brandon Knows He Needs to Get Clean
He finally realized that he needed to beat the addiction. With his family, he found the Narconon program on the internet. He chose this program from among several he and his family were looking at and together, they made it happen.
Even though he chose this program, he wasn’t really sincere in his efforts to get clean at first. It took hearing other students talking about how much better they felt for him to start to give the program his best efforts. It wasn’t long until he began feeling good about himself for the first time in a long time. “I started having a natural happy feeling — I hadn’t felt that in so long,” he said.
As he progressed through the program, he began to let go of old resentments about things that had happened years before. He said he finally began to mature while he was on this program.
The Narconon program was the first rehab he ever finished and he was very proud of himself for the accomplishment and for finally getting sober. He decided to stay on at the Narconon rehab center to help other people get through their own recoveries. He’d tell other students who might be having a hard time at the beginning of their rehabs, “Dude, if I can do it, you can do it.”
He concluded with this statement: “I’m glad I did this program. With my experience in rehabs, I don’t think people could find a better place to be.”
If you know someone who needs help with drug addiction, call a Narconon drug rehab counselor today. We’re here to help.