They Were Opioid Addicts On Their Way To Recovery, Then The Hurricane Hit


By Elizabeth Brico

Original Source:

“It’s awful. I haven’t dosed in 5 days.”

The message popped up on my Facebook feed on August 29, a day after Hurricane Harvey first hit Texas. A woman named Clair, a methadone patient who lives near Houston, could not make it through the flood waters to get the dose she needed. She was going through withdrawal.

This was just one of several such stories populating my newsfeed. I’m a recovering heroin addict and former methadone patient who lives in Seattle, far from the paths of Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma. But through a private Facebook group for methadone patients and allies, I’ve witnessed a crisis develop: the inability of people in addiction recovery to access methadone due to the storm.“It happened so fast and took a turn for the worst so fast we didn’t have time to prepare,” Clair wrote. “Keep us in your prayers.” A day later: “Today is day 6. I’m very sick.” She stopped responding to replies after that.The desperation of Clair’s comment reminded me of my own experience trying to obtain methadone doses in the middle of a natural disaster. It was the Fall of 2013 when Boulder was hit with record floods that destroyed 1,500 homes and took the lives of eight people. On the day of the flood, I was stranded at home with no way to access a methadone clinic. I was five months pregnant. Missing my dose wasn’t just about being in pain — it was about my unborn baby, who might…click here to continue reading