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From partier to addict, and back again

Published: Sun, December 1, 2013 @ 12:01 a.m.




The influence of a lifelong buddy, who later died from an overdose. Loss of a job from layoff. Stress of attending to a dying grandfather and the influence of a boyfriend.

These are among the triggers three Trumbull County drug addicts say led them to take up a dangerous drug habit.

“The people I was hanging with — my best friend growing up, my friend who died a few years ago of a heroin overdose,” a 40-year-old man said when asked what single thing led him to ignore advice to stay away from dangerous drugs such as heroin, cocaine and oxycodone.

“When you’re under the influence of

alcohol at parties, it makes you braver — liquid courage, I guess,” he said of why he decided to try other drugs besides alcohol.

The man described being a drinker more than 20 years ago when he was a teen, and he continued to drink into his 20s, when he tried cocaine the first time.

“It was an instant love affair because I could drink and not pass out,” he said.

That led to use of crack cocaine because powder cocaine was not always available.

But around the time he was arrested last November for cocaine possession — the charge that brought him to the Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Drug Court — he had lost everything.

“I lost my wife, I lost custody of my child,” he said. Last December, he found himself “wandering around the streets of Warren — no vehicle, no family, no home. I just burned everything.”

It made him decide to change.

“I decided I’m done. I’m tired of hurting everybody,” he said.

Since he started the drug court program in February, which involves substance-abuse treatment and focuses on responsibility and accountability, he relapsed one time with alcohol.

Most of the family members who turned away have allowed him back into their lives.

“It’s a gift,” he said of the opportunity to have his felony offenses dismissed by Judge Andrew Logan of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court at the end of a year or two in the program.

“It’s given me a chance to save my life.”


A 36-year-old woman said she started using the opiate Vicodin provided by her boyfriend, who used them for back pain, because “I wanted to see why he liked it.”

The woman also had a prescription for Vicodin because of a broken ankle, but it was for a lesser dosage and didn’t do much for her, she said.

But after using her boyfriend’s pills, she got hooked and then started taking pills from her grandmother. Once she was addicted, she persuaded her longtime family doctor to prescribe more.

Her addiction lasted about a year, until she was arrested for theft, and she’s been clean about a year. She has about five months left before she is eligible to have her charge dismissed.

She thinks there’s a good chance she can get the life back she had before she became an opiate addict.

“I’ve been good all my life,” she said. “I didn’t lie and steal and the things I did to get my pills.”


A 32-year-old woman from rural northern Trumbull County said getting caught stealing in order to buy oxycodone was why she finally stopped using the drug. Oxycodone includes products such as OxyContin and Percocet.

She said she became an oxycodone addict because of a factory-job layoff four years ago.

“I started self-medicating because I couldn’t handle all of the things that were happening to me,” she said.

“I had been a productive member of society. I had always worked.”

The woman acknowledges she had been a drinker during her teen years, smoked marijuana and experimented with drugs. But her life changed when she got hooked on oxycodone.

“It ripped my world apart,” she said, describing the loss of her home to foreclosure and the loss of her car to repossession over a two-year period.

The woman said people express a lot of misinformation about addiction — not understanding what withdrawal is like, thinking it’s only an urban problem and not understanding who some of the dealers are.

She failed to kick her oxycodone habit on her own because withdrawal would have prevented her from caring for her children, she said.

“I would rather be in labor than go through withdrawal,” she said. “When you have to take care of your kids and make sure they eat, it’s very hard to go through withdrawals.”

Her parents blamed her addiction on Niles, where she moved after losing her job, but she says the city where she lived isn’t responsible.

“It’s everywhere,” she said. “If you live in the country and you can’t get it, you just drive where you need to get it, but it’s readily available everywhere.”

The image of inner-city men selling drugs isn’t always accurate either.

“A lot of them are elderly people selling their pills,” she said.

In her case, a girlfriend bought oxycodone from the girlfriend’s grandfather. Eventually, she no longer needed her girlfriend to serve as middleman.

“A lot of the elderly are selling these pills,” she said.


1michael1757(384 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

From parties to addict & back again...to what? Partying? Don't believe that thing on TV,Passages,where the guy says,I was an addict for 10 years & now I'm not.Thats bullSh*t,don't believe of word of it.Once your an addict,or alcoholic,you always are.Theres no cure.If your either,you have two choices.You either live or,you die.Thats it.Theres no,I'll just drink one beer today,or take just one snort,or one hit,during the game with my buddies.Ain't gonna happen.Once you are...ALWAYS!!! Lets live...

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2Askmeificare(803 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I have absolutely ZERO sympathy nor care nor concern for any of you 'addicts'.

The lives you have destroyed, the trauma you have inflicted, the communities resources you have taken advantage of, make each and every one of you worthless.

The only chance you may feel redeems you is your tie to humanity. Well worthless addict, you cut that tie, that bond of trust, when you placed yourself and your selfish lifestyle ahead of anything good, ahead of your community, and ahead of keeping your very own family safe, warm, and dry. Amazing -your own family.

The nerve you destroyers of love and life have. You ask everyone -the courts, your neighbors, your family- for a second chance when you have been given free will to do good for your loved ones, your community, and your neighbors and instead denied the responsibility to be humane yourselves and opted to be selfish and destructive to yourselves and everything and anything you could touch, taste, feel, and see.

I say you are a wolf and lowlife scum in sheeps clothing.

You are also addicted to receiving second chances again and again and again. It is nothing to any of you. You 'addicts' have denied your own families so asking eveyone you have urinated on for a "Give me another chance- Do me a solid" is simply business as usual for all of you.

You want a second chance? Bull-. The best ALL of you can do for the responsible 'non partying' people is for you to drag your addicted lifestyle to another state such as Oregon and one of their communities. Get out of our city, our Youngstown.

And don't let the door kick you in your inebriated, partying ass.

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3LtMacGowan(689 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

What about me? I suffer horrible pain because of injuries sustained during my time in the US Army. I take Fentanyl, Methadone, and Oxycodone Instant Release.

The only difference between them and me is that I get mine legally. I am still addicted to them and always will be.

Am I scum because I'm addicted to drugs?

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4lefty83(313 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Most people have no idea what addiction is anyway,and they have no idea alcohol is a drug too.My addiction is cigarettes,and they say it is the most difficult to quit. Let people say what they want,when the old geezer is in his last days,he will understand. YOU MISERABLE PERSON.

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5kensgirl(840 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Obviously the "Just say no" program didn't work. I too have no sympathy for addicts. The collateral damage you do is enormous! You talk about wanting another chance. Ninety nine percent of addicts get numerous chances and blow it. Children are left parentless and too many times family members have to pick up the fragments and move on. No one cares about the people left in it's wake. It's always about the addict. Sorry. You chose you lose. And so does society.

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6bmanresident(607 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

These three addicts as well as many other addicts out there blame everyone but themselves. It's their own faults they are hooked but the one example in this article blames a big greedy corporation for a layoff. It's not their fault they got hooked, it's the company's. No accountability and now they look like heros

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7isaac45(336 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

typical warm-hearted posters here...and to Lt.Mac, I appreciate your service and don't label you at all..work with your doctors and caregivers to survive the best you can

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8Thomas1(14 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I have zero sympathy for the young lady who resorted to drugs after getting laid off from her job. So - let's get this straight. You lose your job, you realize your income is now gone except for unemployment. Instead of trying to save every single penny you can find until you can find another job, you blow it on drugs. And she's a mother?

If she was so worried about how her kids would eat, she wouldn't have turned to drugs in the first place. Great example to pass down to your kids.

@LtMacGowan - Thank you for your service to our county. You are nothing like them or her. You have chronic pain AND A MEDICAL JUSTIFICATION FOR THE MEDICATIONS. This lady turned to pain meds to escape from reality.

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9southsidedave(5119 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

It is easy to judge others, but recall that we cannot truly judge others until we have walked in their shoes.

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10CantStandYa(202 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Boardman Jeff you sound like someone who is obviously not thinking clearly.

Threatening violence to change someone's thought process is absurd.

Especially on an anonymous Internet forum

I suggest posting your own address and letting them come to you. I mean it. Really man up.

Nah, you don't have the balls, tough guy.

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11Askmeificare(803 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

At macgowan and boardmanjeff:

At macgowan:

"The only difference between them and me is that I get mine legally."

Additionally you state, " ...because of injuries sustained during my time in the US Army."

So you blame the u.s. army for your drug habits?- Afterall, you admitted you are no different than those parasites in the article.

I would not have grouped you into the subhuman losers that I commented on. I would have stated that you hadn't read my post.

That said, you wrote the above sentence I quoted in captions whereas you admit you are no different than those in the article. Since you had freely written that comment I certainly will state that indeed you are no different than a scum sucking partying loser. Have you no self respect? Why do you call yourself Lt., and disrespect the others whom have served in the army? I question this as you have stated there is NO DIFFERENCE between THEM and YOU.

So keep laughing all the way to your legal and tax payer funded drug house. Shame on you. I do not recognize your service. I question if you served at all simply by the way you assert and enjoin your drug problem to u.s. service itself.

It begs the question why you had, for sure in a literary sense, given yourself -army and all- away to and admit to being one of the pieces of worthless lowlife scum. Do you realize you have embarrassed the u.s. army with your statement? Being in the services should mean something. Stand for something. Within a few short demeaning sentences, you threw all of it away.

Basically you stated, "Join the army and get addicted to painkillers. Party on legally when discharged because the army wants you to be all you can be".

It's grotesque.

At boardmanjeff:

I laugh at you because you have had the same opportunities as I and you have chosen to be uninvolved, uninformed, and unattatched.

You had gotten personal with me my friend so kindly allow me the same pleaseure.

If you were a better parent then perhaps your child (children) wouldn't be involved in the illegal drug industry and hence be more literate from your loving attention as well.

You aren't in any measure nor definition ambitious nor successful , hence; your words toward me are (albeit humorously) dark and sick.

Interesting how you write about compassion for human beings yet display everything against that intention -Again dark and sick. But you were abused as a child, yes?, so...

And BTW, we know each other and that means I know where YOU live.

What's your plan now?

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12LtMacGowan(689 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

i was referring to how were are alike because we are both addicted to pain medications. I know the horrible experience running out entails, also I abused my medications for awhile when my Fiancee was killed in a car accident. I just wanted to stop the pain deep down in my soul. As I said the only difference at that moment was I got mine legally prescribed. It took awhile but I eventually was able to pull most of the pieces of my self back together but I understand the terrible pain that leads one to try and drown it out with drugs.

I do not blame the Army I blame the drunk driver who hit me. I loved my time in the Army if I am bitter about anything its about my career being cut short.

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13Askmeificare(803 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

At mcagowan and boardmanjeff:

At macgowan:

I stand by my comments. Before you stated it was the army and now it is a drunk driver.

At boardman jeff:

The words I have for you are not fit to post. You and your words are typical of a low I.Q. and judging by our person to person conversations, that is exactly what you are- A low I.Q.

Seriously, you know me and you are soooo stupid you don't know who I am on the vindy site.

Why don't YOU post YOUR address? You are the coward. I know you and I know your whole family. They, like you, are cowards.

And BTW, you need to lose weight.

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14CantStandYa(202 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Peep the tough guy on the internet.

Hahaha. All these people are laughing at you.

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15bumslife(28 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

All the negative no-sympathy idiots are probably closet addicts or alcoholics themselves. If not, someone they love and care about is. Statistical fact.

Probably was their mommy or daddy that loved the needle more than AMIIC. I know not one person that woke up saying "I'm gonna be a junkie and destroy everything around me and throw away all my families' love and trust in me".

Their hardcore attitudes display many psychological characteristics typical of a user: self-hatred, projection, replacement. I could go on, but I think the folks that know what it's like to see someone you love lose to an addiction understand where I was going with this.

And all of it is sad because the only thing causing all the crimes and deaths around drugs are directly caused by our govts laws and stance on drugs and their "war" on it. What movie was it where the politico said in his speech "how can you fight a war when the enemy is your own family" or something very similar as his daughter was an addict?

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