%22Knowing that it could have been prevented made it worse.

Tamera was prescribed opioid medication to manage chronic severe headaches. Before she started taking opioid pain medications, she had a steady, long-standing career and lived in a comfortable home with her young son. Tamera became addicted to prescription opioids within a year, and everything changed. She began requiring larger doses to experience the same effects the drugs once provided. She was written prescriptions by four different doctors before and began purchasing pills on the street. Tamera describes getting to a point where the only thing that mattered to her was finding a way to maintain the numb feeling she got from the prescription opioids. Her career, her home, and a significant amount of retirement savings were all lost to her addiction. Tamera says that her addiction “took everything” that she had. Tamera was eventually forced to part with her son, who went to live with his father, so that Tamera could get treatment.

After a number of years, Tamera was able to overcome her addiction. She still experiences residual health problems due to her opioid addiction, including hearing loss, digestive issues, and throat damage that has affected her voice. Her son still lives with his father; however, Tamera is grateful that she and her son continue to have a good relationship. Today, Tamera is working at Hope House recovery center, and she recently became a Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist (CARES) through the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse.

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

Learn more about opioid data and resources.