Gathered at my own mother’s home to celebrate the holiday, my family, along with my brother, sister-in-law and their kids, were enjoying time together.
I ran in to find my son, David, sitting on the couch holding a newspaper and shaking uncontrollably.
“David, what’s wrong? Stop! What are you doing?” I shouted. “I can’t stop!” David answered.
When the paramedics came, they kept repeating the question: What did you take? Despite repeated protests from David that he’d taken nothing, he confessed when at the hospital that not only had he ingested a pain medication he took from another relative’s medicine cabinet; he’d taken it because he couldn’t get his hands on heroin that day. He was a heroin addict.
Miraculously, the doctors were able to clear David’s system of the medication, but now what? What was I supposed to do? I’d never even smoked cigarettes, let alone tried anything stronger. I was utterly devastated, and out of my element. While I’d known for years that David had issues with drinking, I had no idea he’d turned to drugs—and heroin? Oh my God.
When my husband relieved me at the hospital the next day, I went home and started Googling. Ten years ago, information about addiction and treatment was relatively limited. The scope of the crisis was just beginning to reach epic proportions, and there were few in-patient treatment facilities in our area. Desperate, I did find one not too far from our home that delivered what I assumed was the right message—qualified clinical treatment for addiction. That was about it. Basic information, but enough of a lifeline for me to pick up the phone and get my son admitted for treatment.
With so little to go on, I simply had to trust that the facility where I delivered my son would be able to help him. Fortunately, the treatment center was a good one; I had thrown a dart and managed to get close to a bullseye.
These days, there are almost countless facilities offering addiction treatment—and not all are created equal. If you or a loved one needs treatment, consider the following before choosing a treatment facility:
Choosing a treatment facility can be confusing. Fortunately, a little research can lead you to quality care with a supportive team that will meet the needs of the patient and be there to support frightened family members with compassion and understanding.