From Near Death to Clean and Drug-Free

Delaney Brewer, Reporter

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After an unnerving near-death experience that put him into a coma, Tyler Adams, a 26-year-old Bixby resident, is recovering from nine years of addiction.

“I started doing drugs my freshman year of high school when I was 15,” he says. “I started out smoking weed, but eventually peer pressure led me into doing drugs like acid, cocaine, and different types of pills.”

Some people use drugs as a stress reliever because of the effects that they can have on the mind and the way that they make you feel.

“I was going through a lot at the time I first started,” Adams says. “My brother was killed, my mother was having health problems, we were really poor, and I was struggling in school. Drugs seemed like a good stress reliever, so I decided to try it out. Next thing you know, I was addicted.”

Drug addictions can cost the user a lot of money, along with society. The estimated cost of drug abuse to society exceeds $190 billion, which is from $130 billion in productivity loss, $20 billion in healthcare costs and $40 billion in legal costs, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Drug abuse doesn’t only affect the user’s health, but it also affects the user’s social life, school, friends, family and careers.

“When I became addicted, my grades dropped even more,” Adams says. “I got kicked out of my house, I was spending all of my money on drugs, I lost friends, and I was only hanging out with people who did bad things.”

In 2015, drug overdoses killed more than car accidents, guns and falls combined, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse for Teens. Some signs of a severe drug overdose are seizures, vomiting, loss of consciousness, slurred speech and breathing difficulties.

“Back when I was 24, I overdosed on Xanax and cocaine,” Adams says. “I was vomiting, having seizures, I couldn’t breathe correctly, and I was in and out of consciousness. I fell into a coma for eight days, and stayed in the hospital for a total of 23 days before going to a rehab center.”

When it comes to rehabilitation and treatment facilities, there are many important factors to consider. Medication is often an important part of treatment, detoxification, behavioral counseling, medical evaluations and long-term follow ups to prevent relapsing, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Staying in treatment for a longer period of time than just a couple of weeks is also important. Effective treatment addresses all of the patient’s needs, such as mental and physical health, not only the patient’s drug use. The opioids methadone and buprenorphine are used in treatment facilities to relieve cravings and subdue the withdrawal symptoms.

“I have been clean and drug free now for just a little over a year and a half,” Adams says. “Overdosing really opened up my eyes and I see everything so different now. I have a stable job, I surround myself with good people, I go to group meetings, and I have a lot of support from my girlfriend, friends and family. I learned that drugs really aren’t worth it. Life is too precious and you only have one.”

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