Portuguese man in his 60s achieved 18 months of sobriety on 9/19/2021 since enrolling in the OAR program!

His primary care physician (PCP) referred him to OAR after two hospitalizations with pancreatitis due to drinking alcohol. In addition to his family’s support and the monthly Vivitrol (naltrexone) injections, we also prescribe two medications he takes by mouth (Campral and Antabuse).  He has never needed additional naltrexone by mouth for cravings.  He even pours out any alcohol left over from family reunions he hosts with his wife.

Caucasian woman in her late 30s, admitted to OAR almost two years ago with Opioid Use Disorder

Caucasian woman in her late 30s, admitted to OAR almost two years ago with Opioid Use Disorder previously treated with 180 mg of methadone (that’s a large dose!).  Her preferred drug was actually cocaine.  She was unemployed and living with her parents and had a history of incarceration for over 4 years.

When she started at OAR, her urine screens were persistently positive for cocaine once she was stable on Suboxone.  With the support of OAR, including regular counseling, she started working. She moved out from her parents’ house in December 2020. She was soon working two jobs, between 80 and 100 hours a week. She was promoted to a salaried position this summer and now works 60 hours a week for more money. She is doing great off all medication, aside from Suboxone. “I have not felt this good in 20 years. I am my best when I am working.” She now assists her parents financially.

In September 2021, she walked through a “cloud of Coke” (from people smoking crack which is made from cocaine) at her apartment building, “I thought it would freak me out but I just thought it smelled bad. I was really proud of myself. It didn’t bother me for a second.”

A man in his mid 30s, who immigrated from Portugal almost 9 years ago, was first seen at HealthFirst three years ago

A man in his mid 30s, who immigrated from Portugal almost 9 years ago, was first seen at HealthFirst three years ago. Routine new patient labs led to a diagnosis of Hepatitis C and the discovery of his IV drug use history. He began using heroin when he was 18 years old and his used escalated to daily IV use until one year prior to coming to HealthFirst when he started buying Suboxone off the street to treat his withdrawal symptoms and cravings for heroin.  No one in his family ever knew he was using heroin until after he stopped using.  His Hepatitis C was successfully treated and he was subsequently referred to OAR at his yearly physical.  He enrolled in the OAR program over two years ago, just TWO DAYS prior to his wedding. With his wife’s and family’s support and while working, he has done well on low dose Suboxone (3 mg daily) and just passed his driving license. This week he explained that the intensive counseling at OAR “helped me a lot” to deal with events that happened while he was using and helps keep him from relapsing.

A Caucasian man in his late 30s was referred by his PCP to OAR for an addiction to opioids 9 months ago.

A Caucasian man in his late 30s was referred by his PCP to OAR for an addiction to opioids 9 months ago.  He had never sought treatment nor tried Suboxone previously but had heard of people who had ”turned their lives around on Suboxone”.  His most recent use started with 5 to 10 pills of Percocet 30 mg every three days in the summer of 2020 after previously only using 1 to 2 pills recreationally at parties on occasional weekends for years. He was unemployed after forced to close the convenience store he had inherited from his uncle for whom he had worked since high school. His opioid use escalated and he transitioned from prescription Percocet pills supplied by a friend to street pills laced with Fentanyl to sniffing Fentanyl. He hadn’t had any periods of abstinence during the prior 8 months and he was sniffing 10 to 15 bags of Fentanyl every day. His days were consumed by getting his next supply of Fentanyl just so he could function and not experience the dreaded withdrawal symptoms including sweats and chills, a runny nose, tearing eyes, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, severe muscle and joint pains. “It was no longer about getting high.” He had a bit of a rough start as he transitioned from Fentanyl to Suboxone, “I didn’t wait long enough”, so he initially experienced some of these withdrawal symptoms. He persevered and is now stable on Suboxone.  He is thriving in his second job, since enrolling in the OAR program, where he frequently works overtime for double pay. He referred his closest friend to OAR, with whom he used to use, and supported him as he transitioned from Fentanyl to Suboxone.

An African American single mother in her late 20s was referred by her PCP for  Alcohol Use Disorder

An African American single mother in her late 20s was referred by her PCP for Alcohol Use Disorder and patient was concerned because her liver labs were abnormal. She started drinking three years prior after the birth of her second child when she had post-partum depression. She reported drinking 1-2 pints of Hennessy 4-5 days per week. She would drink at night when her kids were sleeping. She ended up vomiting when she first ate something the following day and having diarrhea but this did not stop her from drinking.

She did not tolerate the usual medications used for Alcohol Use Disorder but through counseling and treatment for her depression and anxiety at OAR she was able to stop drinking.   After one month of not drinking alcohol, she reported getting a lot done and her mind being clearer, “I can think again” and “I sleep good now”. She was not taking naps like she used to and she was playing and being more interactive with her two small children.  Her last drink of alcohol was on Halloween ONE YEAR AGO!

A Native American woman with Opiate Use Disorder enrolled in OAR just over 2 years ago while in her late 40s.

A Native American woman with Opiate Use Disorder enrolled in OAR just over 2 years ago while in her late 40s. She was referred by SSTAR due to a conflict of interest. She was struggling with Severe Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which were not controlled despite a trial of multiple medications previously. She was feeling overwhelmed while a Mom in an abusive relationship, working, and unable to find an apartment (with Section 8 housing vouchers) for herself and her son when she relapsed 4 months before starting at OAR.

She had a long history of opioid use which began when a boyfriend introduced her to sniffing heroin when he she was 26 years old. She was naïve and was unaware of its addictive potential since she hadn’t had any issues with sniffing cocaine recreationally.  She experienced withdrawal symptoms just 3 days into sniffing heroin.

She had a recovery for 11 years and another for 7 years without the help of daily medications like Suboxone, Vivitrol (naltrexone) or methadone. Her first recovery began after 60 days in jail when she moved into a half-way house while pregnant. She subsequently relapsed 7 years later after her mother and step-father died within 6 months of each other and she went on a “run” when her use escalated from sniffing heroin to daily IV heroin.  During both recovery periods, she engaged in the recovery community and eventually became a recovery sponsor.

DCF became involved due to her boyfriend at the time having an overdose.  She has struggled with her children’s anger as she temporarily lost custody of her youngest 3 children to DCF. Thankfully none of her 5 children, all adults with the youngest now 19 years old, have developed any substance use disorders.

Since being at OAR she ended the unhealthy relationship with a man who was verbally and physically abusive. She found housing twice for herself and her son. She accepted a 30 hour per week job this week while going to school to become a Recovery Coach.

She successfully completed treatment for Hepatitis C this year, overseen by our wonderful colleague Dr. Amanda Kelvey, while stable on Suboxone for over two years.

She has worked hard with her OAR counselor and her relationships with her children are much improved.