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What It Feels Like To Have An Opioid Addiction

Submission Date: July 19, 2017
Attributing Author: Sam Snodgrass, Phd

I’m a behavioral pharmacologist who has lived the experience.

We are in the midst of an epidemic of opioid addiction and death. Nearly everyone knows someone living an opioid addiction or who has died from one. And they all have the same question: why can’t we, didn’t we, stop?

Why, they wonder, do we hock, trade, sell everything we own; why do we steal and hurt the ones we love just to get our roxies, dilaudid, our heroin? But the answer to that question is really very simple.

I started using heroin in 1976 when I was 20 years old. For the next 13 years I used occasionally, never enough to become addicted. I earned a B.A. in psychology, a masters in experimental psychology, and a doctorate in biopsychology. After I completed the doctorate in 1987 I was awarded a national institute on drug abuse post-doctoral fellowship in the pharmacology and toxicology department at the University of Arkansas for medical sciences.

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