Fmr. Doctor Opens Up About His Opioid Addiction

Fmr. Doctor Opens Up About His Opioid Addiction


IF YOU HAVE A GOOD QUESTION FOR JOHN PLEASE EMAIL BY GOING TO OUR WEBSITE ON WCCO.COM. THE DEATH OF PRINCE FROM AN ACCIDENTAL OVERDOSE HIGHLIGHT THE CRISIS PLAGUING THIS COUNTRY. EVERY 20 MINUTES ONE AMERICAN DIES OF AN OPIOID OVERDOSE, WHICH IS APPROXIMATELY 500 PER WEEK. 2.5 MILLION AMERICANS HAVE AN OPIOID USE DISORDER ACCORDING TO THE HASELTON BETTY FORD FOUNDATION. JENNIFER MAYERLE SPOKE WITH AN ADDICT ABOUT HOW FAR HE WENT TO GET PAINKILLERS AND THE INTERVENTION THAT LED TO A SERIES OF RECOVERIES AND RELAPSES. Reporter: DR. MARK MEYER IS A SUCCESSFUL DIET WITH A — DOCTOR WITH A HAPPY FAMILY. HE HAD A PATH THAT LED TO PAIN AND ADDICTION. I ALWAYS FELT DIFFERENT LIKE MAYBE I DID NOT BELONG. Reporter: FIRST TOOK AN OPIOID, PERCOCET, AS A FOURTH- YEAR MEDICAL STUDENT AFTER FROM THE FIRST MOMENT I TOOK AN OPIOID I FELT BIGGER, FASTER, STRONGER, MORE ABLE TO FOCUS AND GET MORE DONE THAN I DID WITHOUT IT. Reporter: THE PERCOCET WAS ONLY PRESCRIBED FOR A FEW DAYS. WHEN HE BECAME A MEDICAL RESIDENT HIS PROBLEM PICKED UP. I STARTED TAKING SAMPLES OUT OF THE SAMPLE CLOSET AND EVENTUALLY CROSSED THE LINE TO THE POINT WHERE I WAS TAKING MEDICATIONS FOR MY PATIENTS. I KNEW LOGICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY THAT I WAS DOING WRONG AND IT WAS SOMETHING THAT I SHOULD NOT BE DOING BUT THAT SENSE OF THE NEED FOR EUPHORIA INITIALLY AND EVENTUALLY THE NEED TO USE THE SUBSTANCE TO AVOID WITHDRAWAL SYSTEM — SYMPTOMS WAS IN OVERRIDING FORCE . Reporter: A PROGRESSED OVER THREE OR FOUR YEARS. HE NEEDED MORE AND MORE OVERTIME AND AT TIMES HE TRIED TO DETOX BUT COULD NOT STAND THE FX. THE ACHINESS AND LACK OF APPETITE, VOMITING, DIARRHEA, YOU NAME IT WAS JUST AN AWFUL EXPERIENCE AND NOT SOMETHING THAT I HIDE. Reporter: TOOK THE OPIOIDS UNTIL COWORKERS INTERVENED. IT WAS ALMOST A RELIEF AT THAT POINT. THAT THIS IS NO LONGER A SECRET AND I COULD GET THE HELP THAT I NEED. Reporter: DR. BRUNER TREAT OPIATE USE DISORDER. THAT’S A REALLY DIFFICULT LINE TO FIGURE OUT WHEN THE MEDICATIONS ARE BEING USED APPROPRIATELY AND WHEN IT STARTS TO TRANSITION INTO SOMETHING ELSE. Reporter: SHE SAYS MOST ADDICTIONS BEGIN WITH SOMEONE SHARING AND PAINKILLER. IT CAN PROGRESS TO THE NEED FOR A DAILY USE AND WHEN IT BECOMES TOO EXPENSIVE BUYING AN OPIATE BY CAROLINE — HEROINE ON THE STREET. BEING EXCESSIVELY TIRED, IRRITABLE, MISSING OBLIGATIONS WITHOUT GIVING ANY CLEAR REASON REPORTER:. TREATED THE DISEASE CAN BE DEADLY. IT’S LIKE CANCER OR DIABETES. LEFT UNTREATED THIS CAN RESULT IN DEATH AND OFTEN DOES. TREATMENT IS AVAILABLE IN TREATMENT REALLY WORKS. Reporter: DR. MEYER LOST HIS MEDICAL LICENSE DURING HIS SEVEN TREATMENTS FOR OPIOID AND ALCOHOL USE DISORDER. IN BETWEEN HE SAYS HE MADE MORE BAD DECISIONS. I STARTED USING HEROIN OFF THE STREETS BECAUSE OF LACK OF ACCESS. WHEN I WAS NOT USING HEROIN I WAS USING ALCOHOL. IT BECAME EVIDENT QUICKLY AFTER GETTING INTO RECOVERY HOW CLOSE I WAS TO DEATH MANY TIMES. OVERDOSE IN SITUATIONS IN WHICH I WAS — THERE WAS A POSSIBILITY OF PERSONAL HARM AND VIOLENCE. Reporter: DR. MEYER HAS BEEN CLEAN AND SOBER FOR NEARLY 8 YEARS AND HE CAN PRACTICE MEDICINE AGAIN. HE WANTS OTHERS TO KNOW THAT THERE IS HELP AVAILABLE AND YOU CAN RECOVER. I WISH I WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SO CONCERNED ABOUT LOSING THE THINGS I HAD IN MY LIFE TO GO THE PARADOX WAS WHEN I DID NOT ASK FOR HELP I ENDED UP LOSING ALL THOSE THINGS ANYWAY. DR. MEYER IS THE HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR AT HASELTON BETTY FORD. THE PROGRAM TREATS THOSE IN THE MEDICAL FIELD DEALING WITH ADDICTION.

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