SCURRY, Texas -- The world of opioid addiction, the path it takes people on and the destruction it causes, is a world foreign to some but all too familiar to others.
“When I was 19, is when I was first introduced to opioids,” said Andrew Rogers.
Rogers is one of an estimated 1.7 million people in the U.S. addicted to opioids.
“I went from pain pills which were easily available to heroin. The pain pills have actually gotten harder and more expensive to get so it’s just cheaper and easier to get heroin,” added Rogers, “from there on it was on.”
Before he got hooked on heroin, Rogers had a bright future ahead of him with a full-ride scholarship to college on a pre-med track. But instead he has spent the last nine years in some pretty dark places.
“It has made me do things I never thought I would do,” said Rogers. “I’ve overdosed twice. I’ve had friends who have died from it. I’ve actually had to hold one of my friends while he was passing away.”
Like so many addicts, Rogers has tried quitting. In total he has been to rehab and detoxed 18 times. At the end of September, he checked himself into treatment again at The Treehouse, a recovery center.
“We take the approach of treating the whole person,” said Dr. Ted Bender who is CEO of The Treehouse. “Teaching them how to think more rationally, teaching them how to handle the stress and emotion regulation. Teaching them how to have fun again and enjoy life again and become part of a community.”
For nearly a decade, Bender has been trying to help so many people like Andrew Rogers.
“We’re losing about a football stadium of people every single year to this epidemic. You know what would make an immediate impact – significant federal funding,” said Bender.
“Recovery in itself isn’t the hard part. The hard part is getting the help you need,” said Rogers.
When asked what is motivating him this time around, to stay clean and win in this fight against his addiction, Rogers says it is his 4-year-old daughter and his family.