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The Opioid Crisis

A mother revealed a three-decade addiction to prescription pills

A mother revealed a three-decade addiction to prescription pills

It all started as a teenager when she went to a GP for chronic back pain.

Rustie had no idea that a prescription for Panadeine Forte and Valium would lead to a 32-year addiction to opioids and benzodiazepines.

In the late 1990s, Rustie went to extreme lengths to hide her rampant addiction to prescription drugs.

She once hitchhiked 38 kilometers to sell her sewing machine at a pawn shop so she could buy more drugs.

Rustie’s 32-year addiction to prescription drugs began after she sought treatment for her chronic back pain

Rustie (pictured) beat her long addiction with prescription drugs

“Usually I’d go back to the same doctor and try to manipulate – and if I couldn’t do that I’d do things like meet someone in a public toilet and buy methadone,” Rustie told news.com.au. .

Rustie describes addiction as a “fucking monster” and became pregnant with a son, Harry, who was born addicted to opioids and benzodiazepines.

“Every day, no lie, in the shower, hands on my growing belly, crying my eyes out and apologizing to this beautiful little person growing inside of me,” the Victorian told the news website.

“I was breastfeeding so he was getting it through my milk – but when I stopped breastfeeding he went through withdrawal symptoms. He had these black circles under his eyes and this high-pitched scream – you’ve never heard anything like it.’

When this photo was taken in 2009, Rustie had not touched a benzodiazepine for two years. It’s been 10 years now

Rustie shared a confronting story about her battle with addiction to kick off the first-ever National Prescription Drug Addiction Prevention Week.

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The launch week, organized by Scriptwise, aims to raise awareness of the risks associated with prescription drugs and address the rate of harm and overdose deaths in Australia.

About 800 Australians die each year from prescription painkillers, according to the latest statistics from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.

The week also coincided with the NSW Coroner’s Court inquest into six opioid deaths in 2016.

The inaugural National Prescription Drug Addiction Prevention Week aims to raise awareness of the risks associated with prescription drugs.

The inaugural National Prescription Drug Addiction Prevention Week aims to raise awareness of the risks associated with prescription drugs.

“Many patients don’t realize that prescription drugs like opioids and benzodiazepines can be highly addictive and dangerous when used long-term,” said ScriptWise President Dr. Richard Kidd.

“Addiction to prescription drugs can happen to anyone and sometimes without their knowledge. The body develops a tolerance to the drug, which means it has to take more and more to get the same effect.”

Benzodiazepines are most commonly involved in drug-induced deaths, and were identified in 663 (36.7 percent) deaths in 2016.

The inauguration week also coincided with a NSW Coroner's Court inquest into six opioid-related deaths in 2016

The inauguration week also coincided with a NSW Coroner’s Court inquest into six opioid-related deaths in 2016

ScriptWise CEO Bee Mohamed believes there is too much stigma surrounding seeking addiction and addiction treatment.

“We need to ensure all Australians understand not only the risks associated with using potentially addictive drugs, but also that there is no shame in seeking help,” she said.

“Federal and state governments must step up to ensure Australians are aware of the potential harms associated with the use and abuse of these prescription drugs and support community organizations who are on the frontline saving lives.”

It has been 10 years since Rustie touched benzodiazepines and took a prescribed dose of opioids.

She cares for a foster child, works part-time, and raises public awareness about prescription drug addiction and doctor shopping.

“I’m happy now. I’m very happy,” she told news.com.au.

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