The first time Andi Peterson tried prescription opiates, she was 16-years-old.
Two years later, the Weber County native was prescribed Percocet by a doctor which led to a drug spiral, costing her the custody of her son.
A Buisness Insider report chronicles Peterson’s journey from taking prescription opiates for the first time to her addition to heroin.
The story is all too familiar for many Americans who suffer from opiate addiction.
At 16, Peterson tried Lortab which was given to her by her friend before she even drank alcohol.
She found the pill helped with her social anxiety and caused her to relax.
She tried opiates again two years later because she trusted her doctor. She was prescribed Percocet after her emergency C-section for her son when she was 18.
Once again, she discovered it made her feel good, but it was expensive.
At the suggestion of her boyfriend, the Wal-Mart employee tried what she saw as the cheaper alternative: heroin.
She told Business Insider: ‘It didn’t seem like a big deal to me then. I was naive. I didn’t know all the consequences that it would lead to. It just made me feel good. Normal.’
Suburbs like Weber County were lousy with painkillers so it made sense for drug dealers to get in on this market and offer clients cheaper alternatives.
The dealers would also help clients not feel like addicts by offering delivery and prioritizing customer service.
In the book ‘Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic,’ author Sam Quinones wrote: ‘Guys from Xalisco had figured out that what white people — especially middle-class white kids — want most is service, convenience.’
After six months, Peterson confessed to her parents her addiction to the drug after her father noticed her twitchy behavior.
She wanted to get clean but it would take her years. Opiates rewire addicts’ brains to constantly crave the substance.
Peterson would also spend a year in prison and lose custody of her son. She would finally get clean after failing out of a treatment center once. She also had a wake up call when she watched someone overdose.
The heroin epidemic was a major talking point in the 2016 election. Journalist Chris Arnade has documented the opioid crisis and noted that President Trump won wherever there was heavy drug addiction, especially to opiates.
President Trump famously won the New Hampshire Republican primary which has a severe opiate problem which included swing states. In September, 24 people suffered heroin overdoses in a single night in Akron, Ohio as the state battles a drug epidemic.
The UN reported heroin usage had reached a 20 year high in June.
Heroin deaths nationwide rose 23 per cent in 2016, to 12,989, slightly higher than the number of gun homicides, according to government data released yesterday.
The total number of gun deaths – which included suicides and accidents – rose seven per cent to 36,252 according to Statista.com.
Written for and published by the The Daily Mail ~ March 11, 2017.
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