Monday, April 2, 2018

On Pills and Needles by Rick Van Warner - A Review

Another binge read.

Had to force myself to put it down Friday night, read enough Saturday to almost give myself nightmares that night and finished it Sunday after Easter festivities.

So much is in the news these days about opioid addiction but I had no idea what I would learn by reading this book.

The nightmare: thinking about how easy it is for a young person to become addicted, how many die from overdose daily, and how hard it is to get off opioids  Of course the same is true for many older people but reading a father’s story of his young sons horrible journey in addiction made me think about my own precious children. It could have easily been one of them.

It starts with the drug makers and the money to be made. They promised a drug that was non-addictive but the billions they made was because it was so addictive. The politicians who could have curbed the problem before it careened out of control were bought off by the companies.

The recovery industry many times is part of the problem as well. As long as you have money upfront or good insurance, they will “help” but in so many cases they just care about making money off suffering individuals and families and in most cases don’t provide lasting aid.

The story of the family in this book isn’t sanitized. Sure it would be easy to tell a story about the teenage addict but what fills in the gaps is what was going on with the other family members. At this point the marriage has survived but that wasn’t always assured. Husband and wife constantly fighting, sometimes due to their own issues, sometimes because of the stress of the whole thing, sometimes vehemently disagreeing about the course of treatment. Siblings impacted. Debt incurred in the six figures from one treatment center after another, multiple relapses, vowing no more help, giving in again and providing help. Behavior contracts signed and soon broken. Child allowed in the home again and soon forced to leave. A father having to face his own issues. Heartache by the ton.

Questions were raised why some addicts can go through a program or not go through a program and then never use again. Encouragement and hope came and soon after was dashed. Lessons were learned about what their son really needed. As I turned each page I wondered what would come next. Would their son survive? Would the story end with relapse and death?

If you want to know the conclusion then you will have to read it yourself. But that is not all you will find out. In the end you too will understand this problem in a whole new way.

I hope this book becomes a bestseller. I hope we can learn more about this horrible addiction and the poor souls held in its grasp.