One man’s ad­dic­tion

Jared Evely speaks about seven years of drug de­pen­dency

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BYMELISSA JENK­INS

The first in a two-part se­ries

In Au­gust of 2013, Jared Evely of Vic­to­ria, Con­cep­tion Bay North pur­chased a Cadil­lac Es­calade.

Buy­ing the high-end sport util­ity ve­hi­cle was a big mo­ment for the 27-yearold. It marked one year of his suc­cess in the prov­ince’s methadone pro­gram.

Jared spent years with an opi­oid ad­dic­tion, which be­gan in 2005 as “just a few pills.” But those few pills even­tu­ally led into a full-blown ad­dic­tion. He would snort crushed pills, and af­ter that was no longer ef­fec­tive, he be­gan in­ject­ing them.

For the last six months prior to en­ter­ing the pro­gram, he was in­ject­ing heroin reg­u­larly.

In 2012, af­ter be­ing con­fronted by his mom, he re­al­ized he needed help.

A star ath­lete in high school, Jared came from a lov­ing fam­ily with two older sis­ters and par­ents who sup­ported him in ev­ery­thing he did. Many would not be­lieve this pop­u­lar teenager would ever re­sort to tak­ing drugs.

He was not long out of high school when he started us­ing pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tion recre­ation­ally.

First, he was of­fered Per­co­cet, and noted, “The first time is usu­ally free.” Then he tried Di­lau­did. Both are clas­si­fied as opi­oids, or nar­cotic pain med­i­ca­tion, and are highly ad­dic­tive. Once he felt the high of the drugs, he be­gan do­ing it more.

He never be­lieved a few pills here and there would be so in­flu­en­tial on his life, but af­ter sev­eral years of in­suf­fla­tion (snort­ing) it be­came a de­pen­dency.

“At first, I’d take a few just to take the edge off,” Jared told The Com­pass in an in­ter­view last month. “Then it was all weekend with friends.”

Some of the people who were a part of Jared’s in­ner cir­cle — the drug users in his group — be­gan us­ing the stronger drug oxy­codone, known as “oxy.” He was of­fered it, but ini­tially re­sisted.

“For two years I held out from us­ing oxy,” he ex­plained, but even­tu­ally gave in. “I could take 16 (Di­lau­did or Per­co­cet), or to get the same ef­fect, take one oxy.”

Af­ter he be­gan tak­ing oxy­codone, it be­came his drug of choice to snort un­til 2010, when he picked up his first syringe.

Try­ing the nee­dle

Jared had a large group of friends, but only a small few were part of the in­ner cir­cle. Most of them in­haled pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tions, but a few be­gan to in­ject them.

“We as snorters looked at in­jec­tors as losers, junkies,” he ex­plained. “Some people were shoot­ing up, while oth­ers were hid­ing it. It never crossed my mind that we were the same.”

He never be­lieved he would pick up a syringe to in­ject a drug into his blood stream, but he be­came des­per­ate.

Jared ex­plained if an ad­dict doesn’t have drugs for a cou­ple of days, they have to get a fix. And af­ter learn­ing he had friends who were “shoot­ing up,” he de­cided he would give it a try.

“I thought, ‘there’s got to be some­thing to it,’” he said.

The high was in­tense, so much so Jared con­sid­ered it an ad­dict’s eu­pho­ria.

“I thought, ‘I missed out on this for so long,’” he ex­plained. “Af­ter in­ject­ing, you don’t go back.”

Eight pills a day. That was the aver- age num­ber he was in­ject­ing. At $40 each, it was an easy way to dis­pose of his in­come.

Dur­ing his ad­dic­tion, when he wasn’t home in Vic­to­ria, Jared spent his time work­ing in Ed­mon­ton. It was there he was in­tro­duced to heroin, a drug de­rived from mor­phine.

Af­ter switch­ing to heroin, he re­al­ized it was so easy to come by in Al­berta.

“Heroin is so much cheaper,” he stated. “And the high is so much bet­ter.”

He would take home $2,400 a week on his Fri­day pay­cheque. By Wed­nes­day, he’d be call­ing his mom ask­ing for money.

At one point — when he was stuck for a fix — he sold his PlayS­ta­tion 3 for a “few pills.”

Jared rolled up his sleeves to show his arms. He has al­most no scar­ing, some­thing he at­tributes to care­ful prac­tices.

“I’ve never, ever shared a nee­dle,” he as­serted. “It makes me sick just to think of that.”

But he has wit­nessed this be­hav­iour — people shar­ing and reusing nee­dles. He would buy a box of 100 sy­ringes, and al­ways use a new one. He has even left boxes of new, ster­ile sy­ringes for oth­ers when he has seen them share or re­use them.

In sum­mer 2012, Jared was at his par­ents’ home in Vic­to­ria. He was back on pre­scrip­tion drugs be­cause, he said, heroin is hard to come by in New­found­land.

Af­ter hav­ing an ar­gu­ment with his mom, he stormed out to his car. His mom fol­lowed.

“‘How long have you been shoot­ing dope for,’ mom asked me,” Jared re­called. “That’s when I broke down.”

Af­ter a visit with his fam­ily doc­tor, he was rec­om­mende d for the methadone pro­gram. It took sev­eral months to be­gin treat­ment, but Jared said it was well worth it for him. He be­gan tak­ing methadone — a liq­uid that is con­sumed — ev­ery day.

The most dif­fi­cult thing he ex­pe­ri­enced with the pro­gram is the lack of lo­cal sup­ports. He would have to drive to Par­adise to see a doc­tor ev­ery week for a pre­scrip­tion. The pre­scrip­tion could be filled at a lo­cal phar­macy.

With­out a visit to the doc­tor, there would be no pre­scrip­tion.

“With­out that pre­scrip­tion, with­out the methadone, ad­dicts still need their fix,” Jared stated.

That’s why some people don’t get clean. He ex­plained these people who have a doc­tor in the St. John’s area and have to travel from out of town — some as far as Stephenville — have a dif­fi­cult time stick­ing with the pro­gram. These people turn back to drugs.

“There are a lot of flaws with the pro­gram,” Jared said. “And I thought it was time to speak out.”

Edi­tor’s note: In the April 7 edi­tion of The Com­pass, Jared de­scribes some sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems he has wit­nessed with the methadone pro­gram, while health of­fi­cials with the prov­ince also weigh in.

Photo by Melissa Jenk­ins/The Com­pass

Jared Evely of Vic­to­ria has been in the prov­ince’s Methadone pro­gram since Au­gust 2012.

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