Devin had his wisdom teeth removed when he was 16. After the surgery, he received a 30-day prescription for opioid pain medication and liked the way the pills made him feel. After three days, he had used the entire prescription. He soon realized it was easy to obtain prescription opioids from people’s bathrooms, from friends, or from people on the street. Throughout college, he used prescription opioids and heroin. He woke up one day, at age 24, and found himself in a hospital with his mother and a drug counselor at his side. They said to him, “Devin, you overdosed. You need to get help.” It was then that he realized he was on his way to losing everything and needed to make a change.

With the support of his family, he started rehabilitation at a treatment center for 90 days. After successfully completing treatment, he entered a transitional living house. Today, Devin has been in recovery for 10 years. He has a wife, a daughter, a home, a master’s degree, and a career that he has dedicated to helping others recover from substance use. Devin reminds his clients that opioid use disorder is a brain disease, not a moral failing. When he goes to the doctor or dentist now, he always talks with them about his history of substance use and makes it clear that he does not want an opioid prescription.

Learn more about opioid misuse and overdose, data, and prevention resources at CDC’s Opioid Overdose website.