Heroin entered their lives so easily. For 10 addicts, the hard part is staying clean.
They got the pills from their doctors, then kept using them until they couldn’t stop. They switched to heroin because it was cheaper, because a friend said it was an easier, better way to get high.
They went to parties as teens, took pills, snorted powders. They got bored with the drugs they were doing and then found heroin, the drug they loved the most.
They had faced abuse, poverty, tragedy. Their pain was deep, and psychological, and the drug was an escape.
The stories of 10 recovering heroin addicts from Wisconsin are the stories of millions of Americans who have been hooked on opiates and either died, or lived with the consequences. They’ve lost friends. They’ve been arrested. They’ve lost touch with their family and friends, lost custody of their children.
“It wasn’t what they always told us it was going to be,” said Moriah Rogowski, a 22-year-old recovering addict, about her first time using heroin. She didn’t develop an addiction right away. But somewhere, more gradually than she expected, she lost control.
Like the other nine recovering heroin users profiled in this special report from USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin, Rogowski has taken back control of her life. She’s clean. She lives in a different city, imagines a different future for herself.
Recovery from opiate addiction is hard, filled with setbacks. But these 10 people from across Wisconsin have taken the first steps toward a life after heroin. In photos, in words and in their own voices, these are their stories about how they started on heroin and fought to get off the drug.
‘That was the only way I liked to get high’
Moriah Rogowski, Green Bay
Moriah Rogowski liked the feeling of downers: Percocet, Vicodin, Oxycontin. She and her friends, the summer before high school, would go out to parties and crush pills and snort them.
She and her three siblings lived in a rural home near Mosinee, where she was homeschooled until eighth grade. In high school, she found her place among the stoners. One night she found herself in a drug house in Marshfield with 33-year-olds. She was 15.
That was the day she first tried heroin. She was afraid of needles, so she let someone else shoot the drug into a vein in her arm.
“That was the only way I liked to get high after that,” she said For complete story FAMILIESAlwaysLOSE!