April 15th, 2009
01:32 PM ET

The cost of addiction

By David S. Martin
CNN Medical Senior Producer

Planted along the wooded road leading to Hazelden’s main campus in Center City, Minnesota, are three wooden signs, each bearing a single word: Easy. Does. It. Treating addiction is seldom easy, though.

Angela Puckett came here after an overdose of alcohol and painkillers nearly killed her. She had spent her life as a self-proclaimed party girl. She arrived at Hazelden hoping 28 days there would begin her road to recovery.

In “Addiction: Life on the Edge”, which airs Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. ET and 11 p.m. ET, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta profiles Puckett and three other addicts trying to rebuild their lives. During the year CNN followed them, one relapsed, showing just how difficult recovery can be.

On a campus that resembles a small college, patients at Hazelden go to individual and group therapy, attend lectures, and reflect. Puckett was lucky. Her insurance covered Hazelden, where the typical stay costs $26,000. Only half of insurance plans pay for residential rehab.

Four years after she arrived at Hazelden, Puckett is back at work and back as a devoted mother to her son. “I know I’d be dead if it wasn’t for Hazelden,” Puckett told CNN. “Hazelden gave me my life back.”

“Addiction: Life on the Edge” also profiles:

* Lucy Gross, a 17-year-old who attends one of a growing number of high schools specially designed for addicts in recovery.

* Walter Kent, a retiree who ended four decades of addiction to alcohol by taking a pill.

* Nic Sheff, a young writer who chronicled his addiction to methamphetamine and other drugs and the toll it took on his family in the book, “Tweak.”

The federal government estimates there are 23 million Americans who abuse drugs or alcohol, costing more than $500 billion in healthcare, criminal justice and lost productivity.

Do you think insurance companies should be required to cover drug or alcohol treatment? How about residential treatment like Puckett’s?

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Anna Lee

    Have you heard of or know about a medication called Suboxone for the treatment of opiod dependence? What were the reults of this treatment?

    April 15, 2009 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Lee

    My husband has tried virtually every other form of treatment and nothing has worked. We would like to try this medication, but any substance abuse center I call says they don't prescribe anti-addiction medications. We'll try his family doctor, but are sure he will be reluctant to prescribe. What recourses do we have to try this?

    April 15, 2009 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. elfi eberl

    if insurance pays for fat people it should pay for addicts. however, insurance should be much higher so they cannot spend the money on that which harms them. healthy people who keep fit should benefit from lower insurance costs.

    April 15, 2009 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Robert D. Eisen

    My first experience with buprenorphine (aka suboxone) was in the mid 1990's in a residential drug treatment program. My reaction was miraculous...Unfortunately, I only received the med for three days. Those were the three most normal days for me in twenty, yes, twenty years.

    I sought treatment as soon as I was discharged. I also resumed drug use (vics, oxy, etc.). I consumed an average of 40 extra stregth vics/day and as many oxys as I could get my hands on.

    I remained an addict for four more years...during which I came close to suicide. I have had an additional problem since my mid-twenties. I suffered from unrelenting, ever worsening depression. My life-long disease of depression triggered my addiction which started in my mid-forties and worsened and progressed along with my depression.

    I had a psychotic episode during the summer/fall of 2001 and was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital. To make this long story short: While hospitalized my doctor told me that ALL opiate addicts had a deficiency in the brain chemical dopamine. I was astonished that in over twenty years of psychotherapy and over a decade of treatment for opiate addiction not a single doctor or care provider had told me that. I asked the doctor what meds were available for a dopamine deficiency. The answer was only one drug, Wellbutrin, but that it was an extremely mild dopaminergic, meaning it only stimulated dopamine very slightly.

    I immediately resumed my addiction upon release, but this time I resumed my search for buprenorphine. I also tried Wellbutrin. Usual result, increasing depression and opiates use.

    Then...Suboxone was approved in October, 2001, and I was released in January, 2002. I began a frantic search for Suboxone and no doctors in my area and elsewhere would treat me. My own addiction doc dismissed the idea, saying, "That's just trading one addiction for another." I was livid and discovered that ignorance and bigotry about opiate addiction was widespread, even among addiction doctors.

    I had also insisted during all those years of my addiction that depression was at its core...No one ever listened or took me seriously.

    Finally, I found a Suboxone doc and my addiction instantly disappeared AS DID MY DEPRESSION!

    Almost seven years later, I still take 8 mgs/day of Suboxone and probably will for the rest of my life. It is my "insulin" for my disordered brain. The disappearance of depression was as significant for me as was the relief from addiction. I had been an addict for 7-8 yrs., but a depressive for thirty or more years.

    I am convinced that my addiction and my depression originated from a brain disease of dopamaine chemical imbalance. Both depression and the opiate/opiod addiction would have killed me. But suboxone saved me.

    April 16, 2009 at 23:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jim v

      bobby-I am so sorry for your problems as I know for sure that you are a decent man '

      the last time that I saw you, you and I drove to wildwood new jersey on behalf of your father to look at a location for another beachcomber

      I had just stopped working as a musician for your father and started working as a manager

      please email me to let me know that you are ok


      please let me know if you are ok

      May 27, 2013 at 21:20 | Report abuse |
    • Angela

      Thank you for your story !
      Suboxone saved my life too.

      December 26, 2015 at 21:00 | Report abuse |
  5. rick kasoian

    i am a recovering drug addict with just over 8 years clean i struggled with addiction for years it was not until i admitted i had a problem that i could start on the road to recovery i think awarnes is the key i am able to go unto schools to carry the message of recovery and drug awarness i did not know there was a nother way and there was help out there in the way of 12 step programs and once i hit a meeting a realized that the seed of recovery was planted after that there was no excuse i knew there was another way!! your in loving service rick k canada ontario

    April 17, 2009 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Bob Holloway

    After viewing your interview with Rick I thought I would share my story. I have many things in common with Rick. I am a recovering addict with 5 1/2 years sobriety. I also went to several recovery centers graduated and made it to multiple months clean and sober just to find myself yet into another spiral of drugs and alcohol. I finally found that the key to continuing sobriety has been the ongoing weekly AA meetings, daily contact with my sponsor and most of all my conscience contact with my higher power. The program of recovery is a WE program and not a ME program.

    April 17, 2009 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Peggy

    Thank you, Dr. Gupta for featuring one of this country's millions of people who are in long term recovery in your discussion of addiction. Too often, the public is only exposed to those who aren't given adequate treatment or those who stumble while dealing with this very chronic illness. I have been in long term recovery from addiction for 15 years. I stumbled a little while before that, but my ultimate recovery shows that treatment and continued recovery support really do work. Thank you for showing the other side of the story.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Henrietta

    I was surprised that the promos for your show even mention the fact that willpower is an issue with alcoholics. However, I'm thinking that possibly you're drawing people in (who might believe that willpower is a factor) and happy to see that you will be discussing drugs that can help alcoholics.

    April 17, 2009 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. karen S.

    I had suffered from many years of addiction to pain medication. I was prescribed suboxone by an addiction specialist. My experience with this drug may surprise you. Suboxone is just a replacement for pain meds. I went into treatment and many of the patients were getting prescribed suboxone. I was there to get off of the suboxone and find a new way of life. There will come a time when you are weened off of suboxone and if there isn't a strong 12 step program that you attend
    "Nothing changes if Nothing changes"

    April 17, 2009 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Kathy

    There should be more programs for the young, addicted adults who are uninsured. They are seen in the county funded ER with an overdose, treated and then discharged with info on followup treatment centers that have long waiting lists. Then you have all these places advertising treatment on TV, but no offers of financial assistance. It's scary to think what's happening to these kids in the meantime.
    Thank you, Dr Gupta for all your excellent reporting.

    April 18, 2009 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. "Joe"

    You are missing the boat in large part. In fact the very title of your program, "Addiction: Life on the Edge," misses the boat, or point, in that it creates a very incorrect implication - that even as a reforming addict, for the rest of your life you will, at best, have to keep struggling to keep some sort of balance "on the edge," lest you fall back into the abyss of addiction.
    That is simply not true for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of card-carrying members of AA and other programs based on the 12 steps of AA. Just go to some 12-step meetings (many are open to anyone) and ask around. Follow some of the members around. Check it out. See if many at all seem to be working, in any real sense, to maintain balance. You will find that most are simply free of any desire or need to drink or use anymore. They are truly "happy, joyous and free" of their addiction, as long as they continue doing a few simple things.
    Now don't get me wrong. I think rehab programs generally are great too. And I am very encouraged to hear about new medicines that evidently can curb an addict's desire/compulsion to drink or use. Why not use every tool available in the battle against addiction?
    But the point is that yours was simply one more program about addiction and recovery that barely touched on AA and what the program is about. If you didn't miss the boat entirely, you did miss a very big part of it.

    April 18, 2009 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jackie Primrose

    I have family members on suboxone. They have been clean for over 18 months. It has helped them turn their lives around. They live in fear of it being taken away from them. It is a controlled substance and can only be prescribed by certain Drs. These Drs. can only treat a certain amount of patients so there is a waiting list. Suboxone is very expensive and then add the Dr. visit and a drug test (not the 30$ kit) and it really is cost prohibitive to an addict who doesn't have insurance or a job. I don't know why it can't be available to more addicts ,because it is cheaper than a rehab or the court system. My relative went from being an opiate addict to holding down a 4.0 GPA. It works for those who are really serious about staying clean. I have my reservations that 12 step programs are for everyone. No doubt they are a lifesaver for many, but others I know say that it is very depressing to go to meetings and talk about drugs and problems that they are trying to stay away from. We need to approach drug treatment in different ways because the problem is only getting bigger with so many people abusing prescription drugs.

    April 19, 2009 at 00:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Doug

    Hazelden saved my life seven years ago. Plagued by alcoholic relapses for nearly 15 years, I just could't stay sober. After 28 days of intense medical, psychological and spiritual counseling I left Hazelden with tools and knowledge that launched my recovery. Now I attend AA meetings on a regular basis and return to Hazelden periodically for 3-4 day educational retreats. Sobriety is hard work, but with that life-changing experience, I truly believe I can make it "one day at a time."

    April 19, 2009 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Diane

    I have a 19 year old son who is a Heroin addict. He has been in and out of rehab programs 6 or 7 times. Along with his addiction he has OCD, anxiety and depression.
    He is being medicated for ALL of them.
    I don't beleive the suboxone is effected. If it is not taken properly, melted under the tongue, it does not help the addict. Many times he would not take it or just swallow it whole. Again, NOT being effected.
    I think Suboxone is a waste of time.
    His last visit in Rehab was suppose to be a 30 day program. He opted to stay only 9 days. There he was not allowed to be on Suboxone, so before he left the inpatient program at the hospital he had to wean off the suboxone, which he did. I dont beleive he is ready to make a committment to recovery.
    After his 9 days he went back to see his psychiatrist, who put him back on the suboxone. Again to me a BIG WASTE of time.
    I beleive he has underlying issues which is making him want to use.
    Until he is ready to make a change in his life my hands are tied.
    I hate this illness. However often times I wonder how this illness can kill so many and our government doesnt push the issue to find a cure.
    If the meds mentioned on the show can stop an addict from using, I am on board with that.

    April 19, 2009 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Diane

    Our insurance will only pay for 21 days inpatient and 20 days intensive outpatient treatment. I am appalled at this because the Insurance industries are telling us that our son will be cured from drug addiction in this short time.
    He has had relapses and we were stuck paying thousands of dollars because he maxed out the allowable benefits. It seems like if you are not a billionaire you cannot get the medical treatment needed for the illness of addiction.

    April 19, 2009 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. ej in ABQ

    We're all addicts. Watching the program, I relived my own trauma of quitting smoking. I relapsed many times. Finally, through persistence, I have quit. I haven't had a "puff" for three months. I haven't smoked an entire cigarette for over two years - 25 months. I quit in February 2007 after a near stroke.

    I was told smoking was a huge contributor to my clogged arteries. Fear forced me to quit. I was "clean" for about 6 months and then one day, I just couldn't take it and had a puff. I didn't buy a pack, I just smoked a few puffs from an old stale cigarette. It tasted awful and made me cough so I put it out. When I tried to write about not smoking, I always wanted one. So I couldn't even write about my pain or efforts to quit. I couldn't sit at my computer. Eventually, I had to reconfigure my writing room. Quitting any habit is painful.

    Drinking, drugs, smoking, food, gambling and even sex addicts who can't stay away from online porn. They lose their jobs over it. ADDICTION. Do more. It's pervasive. I have not smoked over 6 thousand cigarettes. So, if I've had 20 in two years, it's nothing compared to the SIX thousand I have not smoked. We have to work at it every day. It's hard. We need to hear more success stories and those who relapse need to know we all relapse. It's those who keep trying that are successful.

    April 19, 2009 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Dale

    About 5 years ago my husband was treated for alcoholism. Our insurance company did not want to pay for his hospital treatment. His doctor had to write a letter to the insurance company. Her argument was: what is the difference between a smoker causing himself to get cancer and an alcoholic drinking and causing a whole lot of medical problems. Two years ago our insurance sent a letter saying they would no longer pay for any treatment where the diagnosis is alcoholism. Almost two years ago my husband died of alcoholism. Now my son struggles with the disease and his insurance will not pay for any treatment.
    Yes, I do think insurance companies should pay for treatment.

    April 19, 2009 at 21:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Linda Frisicaro

    My son tried the Soboxone and it was not successful. It might have been successful if they would have done more than just give him a pill. They didn't do any counseling with it to deal with his depression or teach him how to live a drug free life. So pills aren't answers to everything...you need a lot more than just that.
    There are only a certain number of doctors who are allowed to prescribe this drug and each doctor is only allowed a certain number of patients that they give this to.
    I heard they have waiting lists so it might be a good idea to try to get on one of those..but make sure your husband gets other counseling and things also.

    April 19, 2009 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Betty Pentola

    Dr. Gupta,
    I am watching your program on addiction. It breaks my heart not only for the children you are showcasing but for my own. I think there is a bigger question out there. I am 56 years old & drugs were around when I was a teenager, however it was only a fringe of society that participated in use. I think the big question is....why are so many of our very young (12 year old) participating. Something is bad wrong in our society. What is it? It is not just bad parenting. I feel I was a very good mother, better than my parents were. I did not participate in drugs even though I had a horrible childhood. My son had a much better childhood & he is a chronic pot user(against all the conversations I have had with him). I seriously want to know why so many good kids are on drugs today. Please help.

    April 19, 2009 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Beth

    Alcoholism is a disease and it does come to us by heredity. I agree that is is more complex to treat than some illnesses but yes it should be covered by insurance ..so many are not treated because of the exorbitant cost of treatment.

    April 20, 2009 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Jennifer Harting

    I was fascinated by the Addiction: Life on the Edge piece by Dr. Gupta.
    I remember hearing on the program that the young man who was a crystal meth addict had biopolar disorder. And, I listened to the interview with Dr. Bankole Johnson about treating addicts with medication. The recovering alcoholic, Walter Kent who took medication seemed to have the most successful recovery. It got me thinking that maybe all addicts actually have a mental illness or brain disorder as Dr. Bankole called it. And, the reason why many addicts relapse is because they need medication in order to recovery. The teenage girl expressed feeling she had that led to her alcohol and drug use maybe these feelings are actually symptoms of depression. Maybe addiction is caused by untreated mental illness and is the result of self medicating. Just a theory.

    April 20, 2009 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Allison

    The show was wonderful and I am impressed that CNN decided to cover such a powerful topic that hits home with everyone one of us. I am curious. will the brain function normally over time when the drug use stops and how long will it take to do so.

    April 21, 2009 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Cindy

    Yes addiction should be treated as a disease, it should be treated no different that diabetes or another medical condition. The fact is that research in things like the genome project and other brain research have opened up microbiology and the human body and our knowledge. There should be no question that addiction is a disease of the brain. We know about receptors in the brain and the production of the chemicals in the body and how genetics can play a part. We know that there are regulators in the body that tell it when to produce necessary ions of things such as sodium, potassium etc… we know about hormones and endorphins and how the body produces them and regulates that production and measures when it needs to produce more or less. The science is there, it is just the education of the public and society on a whole needs to be educated so they will accept the fact that addiction is a brain disease. That it can be treated like diabetes or hypertension, yes there is a need for treatment in groups or individually to deal with behaviors and changes needed. We should not forget that diabetes patients need education on carbs, healthy eating, and behaviors. It was not that many years ago that heart attack patients did not have the counseling provided today for them to cope with the changes a major illness has on the family and themselves, I know because I saw first hand how hard it was on my family when my father suffered a massive heart attack and the affect it had on the whole family. So yes I am all for twelve step programs as part of the solution and for families to attend meetings as well. Seems to me we should take an inclusive approach to treatment and encourage what ever works to put the disease in remission. Sadly, until we begin to remove the stigma and educate so it is treated as a medical condition so many are left suffering and without treatment. Anything CNN can do by bringing light to this subject would be appreciated by the many suffering with this illness and by their families and loved ones as well.

    April 21, 2009 at 22:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Sara Bardsley

    After viewing "Addiction; Life on the Edge", I was struck with something that Dr. Gupta was repeatedly told. It was that relapse was a part of recovery.
    As a recovering alcoholic with 14 years sober, I can tell you that relapse was NOT and will never be a part of MY recovery.I cannot allow myself the luxury of a relapse.I knew, early on, that any relapse would just be an excuse to NOT do what was needed to stay sober, and I NEEDED to stay sober.If you gave me an inch, I'd be sure to take a mile, knowing that I'd always be welcome back to AA, no matter how many relapses
    .I have known many sober people who agree with me. Even though, I lost the trust of my family (to this day), returning to drinking is not an option. Implying that relapse is a part of sobriety can send the wrong message to someone in early sobriety.
    I believe, with all my heart, that if I drink again, it will not be a relapse, because I will not be able to stop, and will drink myself to death. Fourteen years sober will be washed away very quickly. Yes, I am hard on myself, but I have to be, because I KNOW the kind of person I really am, and to this day, I STILL have the tendency to look for excuses, any excuses to account for myself.
    Even now, I know that I am sober TODAY, and still take my God-given sobriety ONE DAY AT A TIME. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. But utilizing the tools I have acquired over the years, my chances of being sober are good.
    Thank you for allowing me to express myself.
    Sara Bardsley
    Brenham, Texas

    April 23, 2009 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. cristina spruill

    I would think what with all the addictions going on, and all the doctors in this country, one of them would have foung something to cure addiction quicker and cheaper by now. I feel no one wants to find a cure, there's too much money involved in addiction. We want to see something concreate done about addictions you put a man on the moon. By the time the drug cortel finish with this country you will be hopping to it.

    April 23, 2009 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Pam

    Yes, I do think that insurance companies should pay for treatment. My son is currently in an inpatient, government funded program, for which I pay very little. He will be released this summer, and my insurance does not cover substance abuse treatments for dependents. He also suffers from severe anxiety, for which he self medicates. I am worried about what will happen in a few months, and am currently seeking different employment that may offer benefits to cover his treatment. He will also be turning 18 in July and will be off of my insurance unless he enrolls in college, which he may not be able to handle if his addiction/anxiety is not under control.

    April 24, 2009 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Adam (med student)

    Allison: Depending on the drug's mechanism, long term effects can persist for years. For example, cocaine and amphetamines, with a stronger mechanistic association to the neruotransmitter dopamine, can create persistent problems with memory and attention, in a heavy user, far after they have quit.
    Furthermore, benzodiazapines like xanax and valium have also shown to have long term problems with supressing GABA, an endogenous inhibitory neurotransmitter that is also associated with anxiety from opiate dependence. However, opiates, according to recent clinical studies, have some of least critical long term effects in the heavily dependent user. I assume this is because they mimic endorphins by binding the mu-opioid receptor, and this direct activity is most closely related to the bodies natural processes. This is opposed to say cocaine which inhibits the reuptake of norepinephrine and produces effects that differ more greatly from the body's natural mechanisms.

    April 28, 2009 at 03:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. jennifer

    It should absolutely be a required covered treatment. It is an illness like any other and insurance companies need to put an end to shirking their responsibilities.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Steve G

    I’d like to say Hi, and just put my two sense worth in. I read down thru all of your stories and see so much of myself in all of you. I have had problems with alcohol, pain killers, depression, bipolar, a smoker, you name it, and it seems that at one point or another in my life there has always been something that was bringing me down, not to mention three divorces because of it. But guess what folks; there is help out there for everyone. With the help of good Doctors, the right medications at the right time, good counseling, good friends, that stand behind you and pick you up when you think you can’t go any further and of course the most important thing to me was the one on one relationship I have with God. He would let me beat myself up to the point that I could go no further, and let it be known that he will not give you anything you cannot handle, He will intervene, even if it’s on what could be your death bed. Pick you up and carry you tell you can carry yourself again. By no means is my life back to normal, I still struggle every day, but people, just don’t give up on yourselves and with a little help, either professionally or spiritually you will carry on. I never thought I would live past the age of 30, but I am now 53 , still have a good job ,I am beat up ,but I keep right on trucking . I get up every day and wonder what I’m in for today, and for me I just say God make today just a little bit better than yesterday, It doesn’t always work out that way, but at least it puts me in the right state of mind for the day, and I don’t worry about tomorrow Good luck to all of you,

    April 28, 2009 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Suz

    unfortunately not all suboxone providers are ethical drs .
    some are just in it for the money and create a nightmare for the patients they treat. it is sad that the drs who addict us in the first place arent allowed to provide the cure . the suboxone program has created some drs who are nothing more then thugs with no better morals then the drug dealers on the street .
    finding a good suboxone dr is very difficult ..at least in my area .

    May 5, 2009 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Ned Ward

    I have been in recovery for 2 years. After I hit my rock, bottom I sought the help of an addiction doctor. She prescribed suboxone. This drug truly saved my life. There are many opionions out there about this drug. Yes it does replace another drug, but for recovering addicts it can be a lifesaver. Addiction is a horrible desease even some people do not consider it a desease, that will remain with those individuals for life. Some of us have chemical defiencies of the brain that I believe causes addiction. That is why some people acquire the desease and some do not. If I have to stay on suboxone the rest of my life,so be it. Until there is more research to totally understand addiction, this way of treating the desease is great for alot of people.
    If someone has diabetes you find the best medicine to treat it, it is the same with the addiction desease.

    May 15, 2009 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Aimee Chapman

    Drug Addiction will not only ruin your body but it would also mess up your life.*;;

    May 18, 2010 at 03:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Reuben Powell

    drug addiction is really a very bad problem of the society, it destroys the life of a person;":

    July 18, 2010 at 23:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Aidan Webb

    drug addiction kills that is for sure, everyone should be more concerned on the war on drugs`.'

    October 11, 2010 at 04:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. LED Dimmer

    drug addiction is a menace to the society, it destroys lives and it destroys the community -';

    December 13, 2010 at 02:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Dr. Patel

    What an awful story. Drug addiction is something that not only affects the adddict but it can ruin their family and relationships. If you suspect that you or someone you know may be suffering from alcohol addiction, we encourage you to contact a local counselor.Get started on your road to recovery today! http://www.solacecounseling.com/painkiller-eBook

    March 9, 2011 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.