Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

November 10, 2013

Options limited for getting clean

ASHLAND — Michael Haney is one of many who works with individuals working to become clean and sober.

The area addiction program supervisor for Pathways Inc. says his own convictions about drug users have evolved since he first began working in the crisis unit in 1991, although his experience also tells him proper treatment is the only solution for those who want to break the cycle of addiction to substances such as crystal meth and heroin.

“Addiction gets in your head and drives you like a slave master,” Haney said, sitting in a small office at the Pathways crisis/detox facility at the corner of Greenup Avenue and 22nd Street in Ashland.

While heroin use seems to be increasing in the area, Haney said he’s certain the drug has been here for years.

“Heroin has always been around, I think. It has been in Huntington and Charleston for years. It’s almost like fashion. Heroin is the bell-bottom of the drug world,” he said.

“It (heroin) was pushed aside for the pure, easy to get pharmaceutical drugs,” he said, adding people often justified their use of prescription drugs by saying “I’m prescribed this. A doctor gave me this.” He responds to that logic by pointing out no doctor ever prescribed oxycodone “five times a day up your nose.”

The overuse of prescription painkillers in this area can almost be explained by the cultural expectation of hard work without complaint, Haney theorized, noting people who were hurt on the job often sought relief and found prescription drugs allowed them to return to work instead of allowing time to heal, resulting in even greater injuries and the need for additional drugs just to get by.

“And now, most of them are switching to heroin and meth. Those are the two big players,” he said, speculating narcotic use is divided “50/50 or 60/40 between pills and heroin.”

Considering the transition from prescription drug abuse to heroin use, Haney said the change is the result of increased efforts to solve the drug abuse problem through legislation and law enforcement. “We really have traded one thing for something else,” he said.

Haney said a late friend once gave him a valuable piece of advice to consider while working with people struggling against addiction.

“He said there are people who commit crimes to support their need for drugs, and there are also criminals that use drugs. A certain number of them — they are just criminals. I don’t want to give addicts a bad name by associating with them,” he said.

People who do seek help with addiction have limited options, Haney said, including Pathways’ nine-bed non-medical detox facility in Ashland, and a medical detox program at Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital. The non-medical detox facility has limited options for someone suffering from severe drug withdrawal, although there is more often than not a waiting list to get a spot in the program there.

“You have a lot of people wanting to get in. Often there is a waiting list, but other times they can get right in. Sometimes it may take a week or two to get a bed,” he said, noting he personally finds that waiting period to be especially tricky because therapists do not want anyone to continue using, but also know the dangers of a person stopping all at once.

For more information about addiction recovery programs available through Pathways Inc., call (606) 324-1141 or 800-562-8909.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • RONNIE ELLIS: Truth and politics don’t always mix

    On this, the most political weekend of the year in Kentucky, the weekend of the wonderfully unique Fancy Farm Picnic, it’s hard to write a column on politics.

    August 1, 2014

  • In Kentucky, execution debate finds new footing

    With a spate of botched executions across the country this year looming over their discussion, Kentucky lawmakers are revisiting some fundamental questions about the death penalty, including whether the state should keep it on the books.

    August 1, 2014

  • Families invited for Fun in the Park

     Free cotton candy, hot dogs and entertainment for an entire day is what Bridges Christian Church in Russell is offering local families during Fun in the Park this weekend.
     

    August 1, 2014

  • AEP reports stolen copper, fence damage

     All that glitters is not gold — sometimes, it's also copper.
     

    August 1, 2014

  • Probe of Fairview begins

    Four investigators from the state Office of Education Accountability spent much of Thursday interviewing school officials in a probe of alleged school law violations in the Fairview Independent School District.

    July 31, 2014

  • Grant helps Elliott County High School with $1.7 million geothermal renovation

    Elliott County School District Superintendent Dr. Carl Potter II remembers the night a few years ago when the lights went out in the middle of an Elliott County boys basketball game and interrupted it for some 20 minutes while the lights powered up.

    July 31, 2014

  • Heroin overdose deaths continue to rise

    The Kentucky state legislature passed a sweeping overhaul to its prescription drug law in the summer of 2012 after a flood of overdose deaths, making it significantly harder for people to access dangerous addictive drugs from doctors.

    July 31, 2014

  • Morehead man faces drug charges

    A Morehead man is facing multiple drug charges after taking possession of a suspicious package mailed to his home on Dillon Lane, according to the Kentucky State Police.

    July 31, 2014

  • Highlands’ Artists Market to begin today

    Up-and-coming artists are being offered a rare chance to show and sell their work during the First Friday art walk.

    July 31, 2014

  • Dogonline.jpg 'Educate and entertain'

    A local theater group is shooting for changing the area’s theater scene.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo