JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- We'll call her, "Carla." Carla had everything going for her: a degree from the University of Florida, an ER nursing job and a promising future. Then after a personal loss, she took a little Xanax to cope. She didn't have any idea where that would take her.
Turns out, she became addicted to prescription drugs. And she said it all started with a little seemingly-innocent Xanax.
Carla wound up taking Roxy's and Oxy's and numerous other drugs. She was so desperate for drugs she crossed the law and wound up behind bars, she said, for three years.
Dr. Ray Pomm at River Region continues to follow her now in treatment. Pomm, who has treated addicts for more than three decades, said Carla has managed to battle her addiction, but it affects every day of her life.
Carla said she never thought it could turn "her whole" life into such trauma.
She said she thought the Xanax just "would help me sleep." She saw it as a "pill to take away the pain -- temporarily. Who knew it would take control of my life," she said in tears.
Xanax is one of the most popular pills on the First Coast, experts say.
But according to the Duval County Medical Examiner's office, in 2010 and 2011 -- the latest data available -- Xanax falls in the top three drugs to cause overdose deaths. It's right up there with cocaine, Oxycodone and Hydrocodone.
Dr. Josephine Gottal with the medical examiner's office warns that mixing Xanax with a few beers and/or Benadryl or DayQuil is killing people. Xanax is, she said, "addictive and very potent."
If you need help getting off Xanax or any prescription pill or alcohol, here are 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