How I got addicted to fentanyl and didn’t even know.

My experience with fentanyl started when I was 21 years old.

I had been smoking weed on a daily basis, drinking on weekends, and recreationally using cocaine, ketamine, and MDMA. These substances didn’t grip me like fentanyl did, though. I was a functioning addict for years while using these drugs. My life wasn’t great by any means, but it was manageable. When opiates came into my life, everything came crashing down fast and hard.

It all started when one of my coworkers introduced me to Oxycontin. After buying some Oxy 20s from him at work, I went home and swallowed one and relaxed in front of the TV. Before I knew it, I started to feel the effects. I felt calm, cool, and collected. It lasted for what felt like a long time and I slept like a baby that night.

When I woke up in the morning, it was all I could think about.

I continued to use Oxy 20s here and there for the next few weeks until one of my drug dealers introduced me to what she told me were Oxy 80s. They were stronger than the 20s and she said she could give me a good deal, so I thought…why not? I bought one and went home. I was scared of how strong this pill could potentially be, so I broke off a tiny piece of it, crushed it, and snorted it. It hit me fast. The high was very intense. I broke up the rest of the pill in 10-12 lines which lasted me for the next 2 days. I remember thinking how crazy it was that a pill the size of an M&M could keep me high for 2 days straight. This, however, didn’t last very long.

From there it was game over.

I started using 80s on a 24/7 basis. I spent every dollar I made on it and it became the number one priority in my life. I went from using half a pill a day to a dozen in a day, no problem, in no more then 6 weeks. I continued to crash and burn until I had enough and checked into my first rehab, which was 3 weeks long. On my first day, they asked me what my drug of choice was. I told them it was Oxycontin. I relapsed shortly after. It wasn’t too long before I decided to give treatment another shot, so I entered my second rehab. They asked me what my drug of choice was. I told them it was Oxycontin. After completing my 6-week stay there, I once again quickly succumbed to the obsession with using and continued to spiral out of control. 

One day in the middle of my using binge, it broke on the news that local police had raided and seized drugs from multiple locations in and around my city. The story wasn’t about how many drugs they found, it was about what the drugs were. The drugs they found were fentanyl. They were being sold as Oxy 80s. I was shocked to find out that the drugs that had been consuming my life weren’t even what I thought they were. They were 50X-100X stronger than Oxycontin, more powerful and more dangerous.

This was the first time in my addiction I finally started to admit a bit of defeat.

I remember thinking to myself, “This is what they told me in D.A.R.E. while in elementary school… you never know what you are getting when you buy drugs.” The confusion and shame I felt in the pit of my stomach were overwhelming.

Treatment, relapse, binge, detox, repeat was the story of my life.

The next year of my life was filled with two more attempts at treatment, followed inevitably by more relapses. I was completely numb to the possibility of dying but too scared to live. It really started to hit me that this was a life or death situation for me.

It was then that I entered my 5th rehab, which was the John Volken Academy, a two year (minimum) program. It was a decision that changed my life. My family and friends are back in my life and I am confident with the person I have become. I have my good days and bad days still but life in recovery is worth every minute. I have been here for 21 months and my life has never been better.

– Anonymous

If you need help or know someone who does, learn more about the JVA Therapeutic Community Approach to addiction recovery or reach out below.  


Want to hear more about the program? Reach out.