SAN ANTONIO — Every day 130 Americans die from an opioid overdose. Many become addicted to them after they start taking them to manage pain.
"I was in a car accident when I was 17. I hit a telephone pole going about 45 mph and suffered numerous injuries," said substance abuse counselor Alicia Scott.
She says 20 years later, and after eight years of sobriety, the pain from the injuries from that crash star ted to control her life. Then a doctor prescribed her opiates.
She told us, "I knew it could be very dangerous given my history with addiction but I wanted the pain to go away and I think it only took maybe about a month for my addiction to pain pills to kick off."
That led to alcohol use and a major impact on her family. Scott said, "I have a precious son that is now 18 years old who at the time was eight years old he was very affected by my addiction to the opiates and the alcoholism."
She once again became sober but still had the pain. But then physical therapist Marcos Lopez changed her life. Lopez told us, "Her activity tolerance was very low pain had just kind of taking over limiting her quality-of-life. We started with having her do stuff at home in a very controlled fashion giving her specific goals to achieve on her own when she wasn't here with me."
He says how someone views their pain plays a big role in how they feel.
"If you are a little bit more stressed out and you are a little bit more tense you might feel a little bit more discomfort," said Lopez.
Lopez says it is impossible to separate our minds from our body and our body will feel part of what our mind believes is true. That is driven by mental status, your emotional well-being, and your physical well-being.
But in order to get a handle on all three of those you have to kick the opiates before they take control of you." Lopez said, "For anyone who is currently on opiates or is experiencing pain, seeking care for it, I would encourage them to be advocates for themselves and for their well-being." Scott added, "There is freedom from opiates. There are other ways to handle your pain that are safer that are more effective."
Here are some resources to help overcome dependence and addiction:
Health and Human Services - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:
Behavioral Health Treatment Service Locator
State Opioid Response Grants
American Addiction Centers
Public Assistance Options for Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers