It happens all too often: an intelligent, successful, driven, white-collar professional becomes addicted to drugs. To many, it doesn’t even make sense. Most people think of drug addicts as dirty, homeless burnouts, not as prominent doctors, lawyers, and business people. And yet, more and more white-collar professionals are finding themselves addicted to drugs and in desperate need of alcohol or drug addiction rehab. Why? Understanding the answer lies in understanding addiction. It can happen to anyone, and once it takes hold, it’s nearly impossible to break without seeking treatment.
For many professionals, their jobs demand long hours and intense amounts of focus—this, understandably, breeds stress. It’s not a huge leap to think that they may want to try something to “take the edge off,” so to speak. Unfortunately, the so-called stress reliever often becomes the biggest problem in their life.
Most white-collar addicts are addicted to opiates, which Ohio health and law enforcement personnel say are more popular and prevalent than ever. People usually start by taking a prescription painkiller like Vicodin or Percocet. These drugs are easy, and legal, to get, and don’t carry the stigma of traditional hard drugs. Their legitimacy as medicine makes them seem safe. However, many find out that abusing these pills is anything but.
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As with all opiates, a user needs to take larger and larger doses of painkillers to achieve the same euphoric effect. Eventually it will become prohibitively expensive even for a wealthy user, considering many of these pills run almost $100 each. At this point, many make the transition to the more affordable, effective, and dangerous option of heroin.
Someone addicted to this degree can’t control their dependence even if they are a strong-willed professional who knows the dangers involved with opiate abuse. After a while, the addiction is no longer about getting high, relieving stress, or pursuit of a pleasurable feeling, but doing whatever is necessary to beat back the nigh-unbearable symptoms of withdrawal. They don’t continue their habit due to lack of will or selfishness—quitting is simply not an option that can be taken without a treatment program. And, unfortunately, some white-collar addicts don’t seek treatment. They fear being exposed as addicts, thinking it will tarnish their status in the workplace, or they ignore their problem, claiming their job is too important to take time out for rehabilitation. These built-in excuses only exacerbate their problem as they continue to use and deepen their addiction.
Opiates don’t care if someone is successful or what job they have—their brutal effects on the brain and body don’t discriminate, and a person can become addicted to them in as little as one week. It’s essential that professionals know that while a prescription pill may seem safe enough, its effect on the brain can plunge them into addiction in a matter of days. It’s not a question of who someone is, or if they’re the “drug addict type.” The danger is real, and professionals can fall into its trap as easily as anyone else.