Pharmaceuticals Anonymous

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pill Head

'Pill Head'
Addiction to painkillers is rampant. Part of the cure is this honest, informative true story.
By Bess Lovejoy, 23 Nov 2009,

The more you take, the more you want.

Pill Head: The Secret Life of a Painkiller Addict
Joshua Lyon
Hyperion (2009)
Joshua Lyon, a Brooklyn-based journalist, first bought prescription painkillers over the internet in 2003 as part of an assignment for Jane magazine. Like everyone else at the time, his inbox was flooded with offers of "Cheap Rx!" (many from Canadian pharmacies), and he was curious to know just how easy ordering these drugs could be. Pretty easy, it turned out. Within 48 hours of ordering a bottle each of Vicodin, Xanax, and Valium from the internet, Lyon was staring at the bottles on his desk. A brief, fib-filled phone conversation with the website's "doctor" served as his only screening.

While Lyon promised his editor that he would flush the contents of his new orange bottles down the toilet after finishing his assignment, curiosity and an anti-authoritarian streak led him to try a few instead. And that was it -- he was in love. After downing his first three Vicodin, Lyon decided that "this is what I've been waiting for my whole life." He describes the pills as curing depression, social anxiety and physical pain all at once, producing a feeling akin to lounging in a sauna, or a constant, low-grade orgasm.

Less stigma, same risks

Lyon wasn't alone in his newfound chemical romance. Statistics show that about 33 million Americans have used prescription painkillers like Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet non-medically, while Canadian research estimates that between 300,000 to 900,000 in the general population are abusing prescription opioids (as much as three per cent). Research has yet to uncover the full picture in Canada, although Professor Benedikt Fischer of Simon Fraser University's faculty of health sciences recently got a multimillion-dollar grant to study the problem.