Feb. 3, 2017
Dr. Stephen Loyd
No one wakes up one day and makes a conscious decision to become a drug addict. I certainly didn’t. But about 15 years ago, I began taking hydrocodone (Lortab, Vicodin) pain pills. I’m sharing my story because there is something you can do as a measure of prevention.
I’d had issues with anxiety and depression most of my life, but it was much worse. I was feeling a lot of pressure. I was in the last year of my medical residency and was chief resident, I had a wife and two young kids, and I was getting ready to transition to the real world of a decision-making doctor.
Here’s how it started. I was sitting at a traffic light, and for some reason that still escapes me, I opened the glove compartment of my truck and saw five hydrocodone pain pills my dentist had given me after a previous procedure. I broke a 5-milligram pill in half and popped it in my mouth. By the time I got home, I felt like I had found a cure for my anxiety and depression.
Over the next three years, my use escalated from that initial 2.5 milligrams to 500 milligrams per day! (That’s not a typo.) My use was no longer voluntary. I couldn’t live without the pain pills. I was an addict.
Read more in the Tennessean.
Dr. Stephen Loyd, a native of Johnson City, Tenn., is the medical director of Substance Abuse Services for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.