My tagname is H. Life used to be kind. Never had any trouble with the law, never really had trouble with anyone. Then, six years ago, I fell through a plate glass window & my left arm was near to being completely severed. Luckily, it was able to be repaired, but the nerve damage left me in constant pain. To cope with this (at age 16) I was put on oxycottin and morphine.

I first realized that I was addicted when my physician, afraid that I could become addicted took me off of everything. By three days time the pain & the withdrawal symptoms were so overwhelming that he was forced to put me back on the medications. Of course, over time, with opiates, you need more & more & more & when they won’t prescribe you enough, you cross that line between “use” & “abuse.” (Although if they prescribe it, I guess it’s still “use”.) The next thing you know, you’re a criminal.

I’m in a prison doing 4 years for a burglary (to support my habit) followed by subsequent probation violations. Despite my condition (in addition to addiction & chronic pain, I also suffer from mental illness) I was not offered any alternative to sentencing, no rehab, no hospitalization. Am I done using/abusing substances? Not unless “they” come up with a cure for cravings, and an alternate to pain management. I wish that I could be a surgeon, and heal others. But that’s not happening now.

– Nicholas “H” Hamilton
MDOC# 66835