Health

This Mom's Viral Before and After Photos Reveal the Truth About the Opioid Epidemic

December 28th 2016

By:
Thor Benson

To mark four years of sobriety, 26-year-old Dejah Hall posted photos of what she looked like while she was addicted to drugs and what she looks like now. The photos have gone viral, and they serve as an example of the dangers of the opioid epidemic.

opioid

How it happened.

Hall, from Arizona, told the Daily Mail that she was 17 when she first took a prescription pill at a party, which would lead to her becoming an addict.

"I was partying with a friend and I took a pill for the first time and due to stress and issues at home it just went downhill from there," Hall told the Daily Mail. "I was taking up to six prescription pills at a time every single day before I reached a point at 20 years old where I wanted to get off them."

She tried multiple ways to break her addiction — methadone and cold turkey. Hall eventually decided to try to use heroin to lessen the withdrawal symptoms after a friend recommended it.

"All I wanted to do was numb myself. I wanted it so desperately that nothing else mattered. Every single minute of the day I just wanted to get high," Hall said. "By the time I started injecting heroin I didn’t care whether I lived or died.”

She was taking heroin and meth intravenously. Hall was arrested in 2012 because of her drug use. She has been sober for four years and has a young daughter.

The current opioid epidemic.

Hall isn't the only person who started using prescription drugs and later became an addict (though she took her first one recreationally). One of the biggest reasons people become addicted to opioids is because they started using prescription opiates and eventually were not able to stop using them. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, roughly 80 percent of people who become addicted to heroin started by using prescription opioids. Many blame doctors who have been over-prescribing opiates.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid prescriptions have increased by 400 percent since 1999. Heavy marketing of opiates by pharmaceutical companies to doctors and patients surely contributed to the problem, according to a report by Pacific Standard.

Hall is lucky she was able to get clean. In 2015 alone, over 33,000 people died from opioid overdoses.