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Brien Center staffer: breaking down stigma of addiction

Nearly eight years drug-free, Amy Borden dismisses the notion that addiction is a choice.

“Until you’re there,” she said, “you can’t say it’s a choice.”

“Yes, it was a choice that I picked up, but there was all this stuff in my life that led me to that because I couldn’t deal with it myself.”

Addiction, Borden said, is a disease.

“People do not go and rob their families and steal from their children and commit crimes as a choice.”

Borden, 42, began abusing pain killers in early 2000, while trying to cope with stress associated with a divorce.

“I have depression and I felt like my life was over with the divorce, becoming a single mother,” she said. “I had a suicide attempt and then found the painkillers and it just masked the pain.”

Borden said she mostly indulged in opiate-based painkillers including Percocet and Vicodin.

“I figured out a way to start calling in my prescriptions,” she said. “I pretended to be a nurse at the doctor’s office.”

“Addicts are very smart people. It was very easy back then. I did it for close to a year.”

When those avenues dried up, Borden said she was able to get the drugs she needed from family members.

She was asked once by someone close to her who doesn’t have an addiction issue why she couldn’t just stop.

“It’s not that easy,” she said. “Unless you’re there, you can’t understand the physical pain and the emotional pain from stopping.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin and other opiates bind to molecules on cells in the brain called opioid receptors. Many of those receptors are in the areas of the brain that perceive pain and reward and in areas of the brain stem that monitor blood pressure and breathing.

»Read the full article at berkshireeagle.com