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War on heroin can start with better control over prescription drug availability

April 20, 2014
By DR. RENE REGAL , Williamsport Sun-Gazette

John was brilliant and funny. He entered the room and every one smiled. We were wowed by his quirky humor and his quest for life. John was also an accomplished athlete. If there was a ball involved, he could do it. It was during his junior year, when in the last throes of a tight game, he received a pass from Pete, the quarterback. He was tackled to the ground, hard. John had immediate low back pain. Any movement was agonizing. Just the simple task of waking up in the morning was surreal. Though he was reassured by his longtime family doctor that all was ok, his MRI was normal; his low back pain was ever present. He received hydrocodone, then oxycodone and finally was placed on Oxycontin. The pills did not eradicate his pain, but they also made him cope with the failure of that terrible game night. He got injured and they lost! Also, he was unable to play as a senior, dashing his hopes for an athletic scholarship in a Big 10 college. He was angry, and without football and the other sports, he had lost his bearings. He did go to a community college, not what he wanted, and his anger persisted. He discovered heroin in a frat party, first snorting it, and then, injecting it. He was found with a needle in his arm, in the bathroom of a popular college bar, dead.



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