JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It happens to good, ordinary people on our First Coast. Misty is a college-educated mom, scout leader and wife to her high school sweetheart.
She had some dental work and the dentist gave her some Vicodin.
That seemed innocent enough. Trouble is Vicodin is an opiate and Misty had no idea of the "beast" inside the bottle. The beast? The power the drug has to pull her into addiction.
She said she started feeling really good.
"I could work all day, come home, be a mother to my children and wife to my husband and cook dinner and do laundry" and make lunches and stay up, she said, until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. No problem.
RELATED: More resources for prescription pill addiction
She started enjoying her "Superwoman" status. She couldn't see the drug's grip on her at all.
At least not at first.
She says in just four weeks, she was hooked.
Really? That fast? According to Dr. John Tanner, an addiction expert from the Wekiva Springs treatment center, that's easily possible.
"People can develop a physical addiction to opiates in as little as two weeks, and that's when the seed is planted. This medication makes me feel really good. I've done something right," he said.
Misty said within 12 months, she "was a full-blown addict, lying, stealing and cheating."
She said she went doctor shopping and bought pills off the internet and from dealers around town.
She couldn't deal with quitting. The vomiting and crawling skin, she said, were too terrible.
One day, though, her husband, a military guy, was home alone and decided to clean their bedroom. When she got home, she walked in to find 87 prescription pill bottles all lined up on their bed.
"It hit me like a ton of bricks. I feel to my knees and began weeping," she said. She told her husband she couldn't quit.
Now Misty is sharing her story because she got help and now her life is back under control. She encourages anyone with a pill problem to get help right away.
Her advice? If you don't really, really need that pain pill, don't take it. She says she just wishes she had stuck to Tylenol.
Jeannie Blaylock and First Coast News are focusing on the problem of prescription pill addiction in "Beast In a Bottle" all this week. This Friday, Feb. 22nd we'll have a phone panel of medical experts you can call anonymously to get help. The panel will be from 5 -6:30 pm during our newscasts.
If you or someone you know needs help with a prescription pill addiction here are some resources:
INTENSIVE OUTPATIENT PROGRAMS
Breakthroughs Counseling & Recovery Inc. (904) 739-2152
3810 Williamsburg Park Blvd, Jacksonville, FL
Greenfield Center (904) 389-37843
Shircliff Way, Jacksonville, FL
Awakening Recovery Center (904) 733-7383
Jacksonville Metro Treatment (904) 398-7015
3609 Emerson St, Jacksonville, FL
INPATIENT AND OTHER LEVELS OF TREATMENT
Lakeview (904) 642-9349
8889 Corporate Square Ct, Jacksonville, FL
Stepping Stones Treatment Center (904) 446-1041
1815 Corporate Square Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32216
Wekiva Springs Center (904) 296-3533
3947 Salisbury Rd, Jacksonville, FL
PUBLICLY ASSISTED TREATMENT PROGRAMS
River Region Human Services (904) 899-6300
390 Park St, Jacksonville, FL
Gateway Community Services Inc. (904) 387-4661
555 Stockton St, Jacksonville, FL 32204
Gateway Community Services Inc. (904) 739-1922
1754 University Blvd W, Jacksonville, FL
YOUNG ADULT TREATMENT OPTION
Teen Challenge (904) 647-6358
3333 Phillips Hwy, Jacksonville, FL
12-STEP SUPPORT GROUPS
Narcotics Anonymous (904) 358-6262
Alcoholics Anonymous Northeast Florida Intergroup Services
SUPPORT GROUPS FOR LOVED ONES
Al-Anon (904) 350-0600
Jacksonville, FL 32202
First Coast News