What is your story with opioids?
For years, I worked at an architecture design firm. I wore a lot of hats, from architect to office manager. I never had dental or medical insurance so it was rare for me to go to the doctor to get any sort of medication.
I suffered from major dental issues and after years of pain, I took a recommendation from an employer of a dentist who would give me a no-insurance discount. I was put on an accelerated course doing major reconstruction. It was pretty rigorous, at times going 2-3 times a week.
I was prescribed some pills for the severe pain but they gave me insomnia and made my nose itch. I was switched to Percocets and then moved to 15 mg of oxycodone. After a year of dental surgeries, I learned the dentist was a quack and most of the work was unnecessary. But the pain was legitimately still there and I needed the pills to manage it.
I never wanted to get high, I had a job, a fiancé, a house. I didn’t have time to get high but I also couldn’t manage with the pain in my mouth.
After a few months, I went to see friends for oxys. I upped to 90-180 mg a day. I couldn’t go to work unless I was taking them and if I stopped, I would get sick.
If I didn’t take it, I wouldn't feel normal.
I ended up losing my house, job of 15 years, cars. Everything.
Looking back, I honestly don't know how I kept going for all those years. I was taking care of sick family members, working a job during the day and then another job at night; all just to afford the opioids so I could function the next day. It was hand to mouth, struggling everyday to pay bills, get the medication, deal with the pain, and then do it again the next day.
How did you hear about Ophelia?
I saw an ad on Instagram and my fiancé and I assumed it was a scam. I knew a little bit about Suboxone. There were people I knew getting it on the street. I questioned whether it was just trading one dependance for the next.
But I did some research and read the founder's backstory and decided to give them a call. (And my fiancé, who was also struggling, did the same a week later!)
What has your experience been like with Ophelia?
I’m 11 months in and doing the best I can.
Slowly and surely things have turned around, I have my fiancé back, my home, a car. And that is thanks to my doctor and the Ophelia team. I didn’t have a car so being able to talk to them on zoom was important and since i didn't have insurance, they worked with me on a payment plan.
They listen and are there when you need but not constantly bugging. No one is intrusive. All they want to do is help you get back and get what you need.
They are not shoving any agenda down your throat.
What is a common misconception you felt as someone dealing with an opioid dependency?
People think we are all drug addicts and criminals. Even regular doctors and pharmacies always looked at me funny. But we are just regular, hard working people who have families.
So many didn’t ask for this. They were given medication and suddenly, they can’t live without it.
Can you share a piece of advice to give with others in similar situations?
Only advice, you have to want to make a change. No one can convince you. You have to be the one to make the change and if you want to make the change you reach out and you’ll find people to get there.