Patient stories

Patient stories: meet Dustin S.

Dustin shares his journey from addiction to recovery, detailing his struggle with opioids and his transformative experience with Ophelia's unique treatment approach.

Ophelia team
Meet Dustin S. Ophelia patient success story
Icon of shield with check mark inside
Fact checked by


I was fortunate to grow up with many opportunities. But I also had an unbridled energy that today would have been diagnosed as ADHD. At the young age of 13, I was put on Ritalin and Dexedrine. When I think about “young dustin”- I had no aspiration, no purpose, just floating through ether. I was living for the now. 

In college, I was given my first oxy and it hit me differently. A few days later, there was a tickle that said “I should get more of that.” It was that easy. It was 2000, they were cheap and plentiful.

The first time I experienced being dope sick, I thought I had the flu. I didn’t realize how addicted I was to the pills and that something could make you feel so horrible. I did not want to feel that horrible again and as the supply got more expensive and harder to get, I moved to heroin. 

My story is long and complicated. The next two decades was a cycle of dealing with deaths and disappointments, breaking and mending relationships, fighting new and old addictions and trying successful and unsuccessful methods to get clean. 

Did you look for treatment before Ophelia?

I’ve tried a lot. 

My first experience with what I thought was recovery was at a traditional center where I immediately wanted to use again when I got home. I then found a doctor who prescribed bup, in the days before it was known. 

I got a high dosage, other prescriptions including benzos, and no protocol on what and how to take the medication. Tried implants and dealt horrendous, self- induced precipitated withdrawals.

Anything I was doing that was good for me was just to get people off my back. The best thing I could live for was the feeling of getting high. It was all I knew. 

For a while, I had a strong community and was a pillar in it. I was clean and happy and had hope. I had a great job. But a slew of tragedies happened and I repeatedly relapsed. While the events, including parental deaths, didn’t cause me to use, they gave me license to. I moved on to different drugs and tried more treatment cents. Nothing stuck. 

It was after a hospital visit due to cocaine psychosis and getting in and out of another treatment center, that i found a doctor who prescribed the medications the right way and treated me like a human. I had the wrong impression of Bup because of the other treatment centers. They were poorly run MAT programs with no educational tools. This doctor was the opposite. 

I got my life back. 

How did you find Ophelia?

I was looking for a different doctor that could work with me remotely and prescribe me medication and they referred me to Ophelia. I was already stable when I joined Ophelia but I still needed a doctor who cared and understood. 

What has been your experience Ophelia?

Mena, my clinician, is super naturally empathic. He is the true representation of what you want. Effortless for him to speak. 

I’m also on the road a lot and needed some way to do it on the road. It needed to be easy. 

What is a common misconception you felt as someone dealing with an opioid dependency? 

People see bup as a drug. But a drug is something used to escape. Thats not this. 

People also have no respect for something that seems like it's being used to avoid hard work, like putting bumpers on in bowling. But once someone chooses the path of opioids, they have a weight on them that a lot of people will never understand. Bup doesn’t free them from responsibility or hard work. 

It gives them hope. 

Can you share a piece of advice to give with others in similar situations?

There is soooo much available and so many ways to work this. Getting close to the best people is the most important thing. You don't have to trust doctors but give them the chance to see them. You don’t need to give up.

To the loved ones: Don’t ever give up. Have hope and help. 


Treatment that works is right at your fingertips.

Get started