Gateway Foundation President and CEO Dr. Thomas Britton and Gateway alum Nick spoke to Niala Boodhoo on Illinois Public Media’s The 21st show to discuss the current opioid crisis and Nick’s journey to recovery.
To listen to the podcast, click here.
“It destroyed everything.”
Nick’s addiction had severe consequences. It damaged his relationships with family and loved ones. He found himself in legal trouble, and struggling to maintain any sense of normalcy in his life.
“If we were to snap back 10 years ago, 5 to 10 percent of the people that we supported had opiates as one of their primary drugs and in a lot of the facilities that we treat today it’s as high as 60 percent.”
Dr. Britton speaks to the increase in the amount of people seeking treatment for opiates as the opioid crisis continues to grow exponentially.
“An estimated 27 million people that require treatment for substance use disorders and 66 million drank in a binge fashion in the last 30 days so there’s this massive problem with all substances. Opiates are one of the smaller as a whole out of that, however, the consequences are so much faster and more intense.”
Dr. Britton discusses the current substance abuse problems facing the country, including excessive alcohol consumption and binge drinking, which are often overlooked. Though alcohol use disorder affects more people than opioid use disorder, the consequences of opioids are felt much faster.
“[Addiction] is a brain disease; it is not an issue of moral failing or willpower.”
Dr. Britton speaks to the importance of treating addiction as a brain disease and ending the stigma around addiction.
“There is fun in sobriety.”
Nick discusses how becoming engaged in the Gateway Alumni program and attending the events helped him after completing treatment.
“I’ve been sober for two and a half years… I have a great job that has insurance and benefits and the whole works… It’s a total turnaround from who I was to who I am today… I gave this thing a shot and I actually gave myself that chance.”