By Terri Ogan
In the past two decades prescription drug abuse and overdose have become an epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC has also released many surveys and studies depicting the worsening problem, which has taken the lives of thousands of people. In the last decade, the number of overdoses from prescription drugs has tripled.
Despite the daunting numbers, 38-year-old Jolena D. does not want to become one of those statistics.
Jolena wakes up every morning with a battle to fight. The Rockland resident, who wished not to reveal her last name for fear of losing her job, is a drug addict. She is addicted to prescription pills, mainly Percocet, but has tried everything from OxyContin, to acid, to mushrooms and more.
The mother of two first started using pills when she was working at a local bar and she wasn’t feeling well. Her boss offered her a 5 mg Percocet and she threw up immediately. But that didn’t stop her from using. After that split-second moment where she swallowed her first pill, she began using multiple times per-day, normally taking 5 mg Percocets, but on a “good day” if she had a larger pill, she would “take little nibblets” from the pill all day.
Her life spiraled out of control. She started dating a man that was addicted as well. She moved into a Quincy apartment with him and they used together. She got her car repossessed. She eventually got fired from her job and finally, after about five years of using, her parents found out.
Her mother, Joanne McDonough, was shocked scared, she said. “I didn’t know anything about the drugs,” McDonough said. “I thought she was gambling or something.”
After two stints in two different out-patient rehab facilities, Jolena got sober, but it didn’t last. Her family suffered a tragic loss in the family and the night of the wake, she relapsed again.
Years of struggle began to wear her down and she decided that was it. She began attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings (although her addiction wasn’t to alcohol, Jolena said that anyone with a substance abuse problem can attend AA), and finally rid her body and her life of these toxic drugs.
Her journey in sobriety began December 20, 2011.