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From Drug User to Drug Dealer to Prison Inmate – the Life of a Recovering Heroin Addict

Jennifer Vanlieu was addicted to heroin and painkillers for some time before she found a methadone clinic that could help her beat the drug addiction and hopefully get her life back on track. What she didn’t know was that her decision to use methadone as a means of transitioning from being addicted to heroin to attempting recovery would change her life—in a big way!

Jennifer made her way through the methadone clinic, coming daily to get her dose. After a couple of months, she was then allowed to have a “take home” dose given to her by which she would show up at the Indiana methadone clinic and be given a dose of methadone that she could physically carry out with her and take home for prolonged use. Unfortunately, this would end her life as a drug user and dramatically switch her to a drug dealer.

You see, Jennifer shared her methadone dose with a friend who later left her home and took a dangerous mix of other drugs in addition to the 15 mg of methadone that Jennifer had given her. Hours later, Carissa Plemons, Jennifer’s friend, was dead. The drugs that she tool along with the methadone proved to be a lethal dose and Jennifer, now gone from drug user to drug dealer would soon face years in prison.

Ultimately, although Jennifer claims that she did not sell Carissa the dose of methadone, it was that dose paired with other drugs that killed Carissa and landed Jennifer with a 6 year prison sentence for dealing drugs. Today, prosecutors around the country tout methadone clinics and their allowing addicts or those in recovery to “take home” the drug as a major problem and the contributor to many crimes throughout the country.

In Indiana, prosecutor F. Aaron Negangard claims that when it’s not the dealing of methadone taking place right in the parking lot of the clinic or somewhere close by it’s people robbing a bank to get the money they need to purchase methadone or it’s people heading out of the clinic and down the road to the local fast food chain to shoot up in the bathroom. The problems that are arising as a result of “take home” or “carry out” methadone are prevalent wherever there is a methadone clinic nearby.

Unfortunately, this is not helping the situation any either. People who take methadone responsibly do so to help curb cravings and stop withdrawal symptoms when they are recovering from heroin or other opiate addictions. For those few who do use the drug correctly, there are millions who are purchasing methadone illegally on the street and there are those who are using the clinics as a means of getting the drug to make a quick sale.

Treatment for heroin addiction has long included methadone maintenance but in the past, methadone was prescribed to patients in residential treatment facilities where there was no chance of others getting their hands on the drug. Today, after just a couple of weeks of faithfully visiting the local methadone clinic, just about anybody could get their hands on a “take home” supply. Whether it’s just a couple of days worth or a week’s worth, the take home methadone is wreaking havoc on the nation causing an increase in the number of methadone related deaths country wide.

Resources:

Business Week News

Methadone Maintenance Treatment

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