‘She was on painkillers, but I never realised how bad it was’

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Lucie Skorvagova watched a friend suffering from an opioid addiction, and shares her emotional experience with The River.

It is not just the addict who denies the truth. It was hard to admit that there was something not quite right with my friend.

She was in pain, and opioids were the necessary evil to rid her of the agony she faced.

For a really long time, I thought there was no other way, and that the opioids were a better option than to be suffering.

The problem is that the solution to pain can cause more pain than you are already in.

I wish I knew it had been hurting her this much. Naturally, I preferred seeing her in a good mood rather than suffering – I thought pills were helping her.

Back then, I did not realise what was actually going on behind the scenes.

I did know she was pouring tramadol in with her double shot Jack Daniels. I did know she was carrying opioids with her at all times and taking them when she was not in pain. I did not see her mood swings as a side effect of double dosing the amount she was supposed to take.

Sometimes her personality changed within minutes.

She was happy, bubbly, was laughing all the time and messing around. Then in a few hours, all of a sudden, she was somebody else – an angry person who did not want to have people around, being awful to everybody who tried to talk to her.

I knew she was in pain, I knew she was on painkillers, but I never realised how bad it had got.

She went through all this all by herself, without any of her friends knowing, and without any help.

All that time, I thought she was just fine. It scares me to even think about how things could have ended up if she had not realised that she was risking her life.

After the first time she experienced withdrawal symptoms, she got so scared that she stopped.

When you ask her about it now, she does not remember most of what happened in the period when she was on opioids and heavy drinking.

What bothers me is that fact that if I had known more back then, could I have helped her?

Yes, painkillers are sometimes necessary but do not let them get in control of you or your friends.

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