May 05, 2006

My Big Secret: Addicted to Painkillers

Prescription Painkiller Abuse Is on the Rise Prescription Painkiller Abuse Is on the Rise Prescription Painkiller Abuse Is on the Rise

abc news


May 5, 2006 — Four years ago, Elaine Domino was a happily married mother of three who never suspected her world was about to change forever.

“I was a normal person, a happy person,” Domino said. “I had a wonderful relationship with my family and my husband.”

That happiness came crashing down around her in 2002. While working at a furniture store, she fell off a ladder and injured her back. Before she realized what was happening, Domino was addicted to a powerful painkiller.

After becoming addicted to prescription drugs, Elaine Domino got help and is in a 12-step program. (ABC News)

“They started giving me Vicodin for the pain, and I noticed I started needing more and more of the pain pills,” she said.

Domino tried desperately to keep the extent of her growing dependency a secret, but the excruciating pain and two surgeries compelled her to switch from Vicodin to something stronger, OxyContin. Her life began to spin out of control.

“I was up to almost 20 OxyContin a day,” Domino said. “My husband would watch me at night to make sure I was breathing.”

A recent government report estimates that 4.7 million people abuse prescription painkillers. Public faces of this private problem include Matthew Perry, Kelly Osbourne and Rush Limbaugh.

The problem is growing. Substance abuse treatment rates for painkillers increased 155 percent between 1992 and 2002.

One year ago, Domino got clean by using the Waismann Method, a rapid detox program that requires a weekend stay at a hospital. She has stayed off prescription drugs by attending support group meetings and using a 12-step program.

“I am grateful for what I have now,” Domino said. “I am grateful that I am clean. I got through it, and I am alive.”

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