She gripped the rim of the porcelain sink and tried to steady her hands. “One last time,” she whispered to herself.
She twisted the bottle, struggling to get it open with her shaky hands. Her mother had taken her needles that were hidden under her bed, so she had turned back to pills. She cried out as she finally gets the pill bottle open, and red and white capsules flew across the bathroom floor. Scattered. She falls to the ground, knowing that she only has so many left. She needs every last one. Slumped against the wall, she shoves the pills down her throat. One after another; she needs to feel good again.
Knocking. She flinches each time the knuckles continue to slam on the door. With each sound hitting the wood, her head throbs.
“Almost done,” she screams as she swallows just one more or so she claims. Only a sigh could be heard in response. Casey grips onto the sink and pulls her weak body up, so she is at eye level with the mirror.
Casey’s love for opioids started when she was 16. She was the star of her soccer team until she tore her ACL. Her doctor prescribed Percocet, a pill for reducing moderate to severe pain. As soon as the first pill slipped down into her throat, she never wanted to take anything again. The pills reduced the pain signals that flowed to her brain. They reduce the intensity of the throbbing in her knee. She could no longer feel anything. But soon there were no more pills left. She craved more.
It had only been a week. She never imagined her life being this way. She thought maybe once her leg had finally healed she wouldn’t need the medicine. She went back to the doctor, telling the him that her pain had only gotten worse and that the medicine wasn’t working. She felt the guilt rising up in her throat as she stared at the white wall in front of her.
“I am still in a lot of pain,” she said refusing to make eye contact with the doctor.
“That is unusual. The pain should have subsided by now. Have you been taking your medicine?”
“Yes, I actually wanted to talk to you about that. I was in so much pain that I have actually ran out of the prescription already,” Casey said as she stared at the ground.
The doctor remained silent waiting for her to continue.
“I was um wondering if you could give me more or something stronger…for the pain, of course.”
Casey had never been one to lie, but the addiction had taken over. Her doctor gave her another prescription, but after a week she had gone through it. Her doctor refused to give her more. She was lost. Was this what withdraws was? She wasn’t an addict, she repeated to herself each day after searching through medicine cabinet to find something that would give her a feeling similar to Percocet. After her leg had healed, she had no reason for the Percocet, but she still wanted it. Casey didn’t know where to turn. Her doctor wouldn’t give her anymore.It wasn’t until a friend of hers told her where she could get it from.
She soon started asking around school if anyone knew where she could get the pills. It wasn’t until the quiet boy who sat behind her in math tapped her on the shoulder one day.
“Hey. I have what you are looking for,” he whispered.
Casey pretended she didn’t know what he was talking about and turned back around.
The boy laughed and whispered in her ear. “No need to be scared. I have what you need. I don’t judge. I’ll even give it to you for a special price.”
That caught her attention. She only had one thing to say, “How much?”
Once Casey found someone at school who could give her what she wanted, but it was getting too expensive for her. She began meeting with her dealer weekly, never seeming to have enough.
“I can give you the money next week. I promise.” She begged for another bottle.
“No. I can’t keep giving you the pills when you don’t pay me, Casey.”
“Well, what am I supposed to do?”
“I like you Casey, so I’ll help you out. There’s something that’s cheaper. It will give you an even better high than anything you’ve ever tried.”
Casey’s eyes lit up. “What is it?”
She tries it for the first time in a basement with her dealer. Her stomach churns when she sees the needle.
“Relax it will be fun,” he swears and talks her arm.
She’ll never admit how scared she is. She gasps as he plunges it into her veins without her consent.
“You’re going to love it. It is going to feel really good.”
She swore she would never let a needle plunge into her veins, but Casey lets herself believe that if it drips down your throat and burns your nose, it doesn’t count. She never understood addicts until she started to poke herself with needles every couple hours and tried trying to convince herself that this is real life. She tells herself it’s worth it because the drug makes her feel like she is on a cloud, her pupils become the size of the needles. Her heart starts to beat faster. Her blood speeds through her system like a car on a race track. After her first high she wants to scream out, “Hey! I just did heroin, and I didn’t die!” but Casey knows that the fear in whose eyes would kill her buzz, so she tucks it deep inside. But soon enough she realizes the monster that has attached itself to her body. She swears that after this time she’ll be done for good. Casey has never denied the fact that it is killing her.