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Battling The Opioid Crisis: Deadly Addiction

Dr. Blake Brooks

Blake Brooks knows a lot about how drug addiction works. He's been a practicing doctor for the last 13 years.
But after studying the disease, there was only so much he could do when heroin made its way into his personal life.

Brooks knew something seemed different about his son, Lucas.

"He kind of lost a little bit of life in his eyes, I think," said Brooks.

"His behavior just changed. I could see it. His mom could see it. His brother could see it," said Brooks.

Brooks kept asking Lucas to be honest with him. It wasn't until Lucas was arrested for shoplifting that his fears were confirmed.

"Even though I did know he was on something, I had no idea it was heroin," said Brooks.

Brooks had Lucas stay in jail for a week and then put him in a rehab center. Just four days after he left rehab, Lucas overdosed and died.

"Lucas was a very gentle soul," said Brooks, "Unfortunately, I knew or felt at some point that I was going to get that phone call."

Brooks wants to open up about his pain in hopes of helping others. He also wants to change people's views about addiction.

He discussed how, medically, the drug hijacks a person's brain, but he believes the drive to use drugs typically stems from some kind of emotional need that must be satisfied.

"It's not an issue of willpower. Its not an issue of making better choices. It is a disease. It is a brain disease," said Brooks.

Back when Brooks was going through medical training, he said there was a big push for treating pain.

"There may be some correlation with how we've tried to now address pain with patients and the availability of narcotics and opiates," he said.

He thinks the Drug Abuse Resistance Education or D.A.R.E. and "Just Say No" programs are important for education, but he does wonder if they are being presented at the right time of a child's life. Typically, these programs are taught before children get through most of middle school or high school.

On average, an addict comes back to rehab seven times for drug addiction

"It seems to me like something that you need to go through seven times for it to work might need some tweaking. Is it addressing the right issues with the addict? Is there something else that drives the use of the subject?" said Brooks.

Brooks hopes that by opening up about Lucas and his life he can make some sort of impact.

"It doesn't take the pain away because it’s still there. A lot. But it does help to talk about it. Unfortunately, heroin addiction isn't going away any time soon until we get people educated about it, until we change how we see it," said Brooks.


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