Drug experts say abuse often begins as a way to escape life. That is the case for a former addict we spoke with.
"I started drugs when I was 13, smoking marijuana," she said. "And, as people say, marijuana leads into other things which for myself is the truth."
She said she was molested as a child and drugs made her feel better. "Drugs make you feel like you are on top of the world."
She quickly went from smoking pot to doing cocaine, then discovered heroin and ultimately Meth.
"I was a heroin addict for 25 years and then I hit rock bottom after my first child, she was six," she said. "I was at the point that I was praying for death... for me to die so my children would have a better life."
She went into rehab, but decided to leave after only a few days and then turned to alcohol to help her cope. She began going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings, talking to others who have recovered. She quit drinking and started taking vitamins.
"Meth diseases every organ in your body," she said. "I was really lucky because I was only introduced to it for a short time and that's why I'm still alive today."
She has been clean now for several years.
"It is a more wonderful feeling than any drug I've ever done. Ever," she said.
That is what Master Addiction Councilor Beverly Yourkiewicz works hard to show her clients every day.
"You don't have to live in that darkness. There is light. There are people who care and who want to help you," Yourkiewicz said. "There are people who will help you get well. You can get well and you can recover, it's absolutely possible."
Yourkiewicz is a counselor at Crossroads Recovery Center in Gulfport, which is both a residential and outpatient treatment facility. Patients usually stay there for 30 days and then meet with counselors regularly for 11 months after.
"What we ask them to do is not easy, come in with people who are of very diverse backgrounds and tell everyone how you are thinking and feeling, and that's tough," Yourkiewicz said. "They help each other, they support each other they listen to each other, they cry with each other. It's an amazing process, it really is."
But only a small percentage of drug users actually get help. According to a 2009 Substance Abuse Administration study, 11 percent of 23.5 million people with a drug problem got treatment.
But Yourkiewicz hopes that will not always be the case. She says with hard work, addicts can recover.
"I get to see miracles every day. To see somebody come in broken and in all this darkness and actually get through into the other end to the light," Yourkiewicz said.
Crossroads Rehab Center is just one of several rehab places in South Mississippi. Like some of the others, Crossroads bases the cost of treatment on your income.
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