Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - July 22, 2019 


As the weekend heatwave subsides, a report predicts more killer heat in the future; Democrats continue to push for articles of impeachment against Trump; and could a House bill be a watershed moment for wildlife conservation?

Daily Newscasts

Addict: “Suboxone Saved My Life”

Social workers such as Michelle Kosa, and recovering addicts such as Michael Honaker, swear by Suboxone and Medication Assisted Treatment for substance abuse disorder. (Dan Heyman)
Social workers such as Michelle Kosa, and recovering addicts such as Michael Honaker, swear by Suboxone and Medication Assisted Treatment for substance abuse disorder. (Dan Heyman)
March 25, 2019

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – West Virginia is debating the value of medication such as Suboxone for treating opioid addiction, but some advocates have no doubt. Michael Honaker, who was once hooked on opioids, says Suboxone saved his life.

Properly used, Medication Assisted Treatment will ease the cravings of an addict sick from withdrawal, while they learn how to live life sober. Honaker said addiction is a disease, and people need to understand that when someone is stuck deep in it - as he was for thirteen years - it's as if they've lost control of their own hands.

He said he even stole the pills his own mother needed to treat her debilitating arthritis.

"I would take her pain medicine and watch her lay in bed and cry at night. And I love my mother,” Honaker said. “I’d listen to her cry for two hours because I stole that prescription. I swore up and down I didn't have it and I had half the pills in my pocket. I wouldn't even give her one of them."

Honaker said since getting into Suboxone treatment five years ago, he goes to work every day, pays his rent and taxes, and for the first time in his adult life, is a productive citizen.

Thanks to Medicaid, Honaker was able to get treatment at the FamilyCare clinic in Scott Depot. His former social worker, Michelle Kosa, said it's not the right treatment for everyone. But, she said, the medicines not only stop the cravings, they also make it impossible for the patients to get high from opioids.

Kosa stressed Suboxone can't work by itself.

"Anybody can get sober for 24 hours. It's like, can you stay sober?” Kosa said. “Like if you have diabetes, you can take your insulin, but if you keep eating, that's a behavior that is going to affect your diabetes."

One issue debated in the last legislative session was how much the state should look to Medication Assisted Treatment such as this. Opponents have argued that it's just substituting one addictive drug for another.

Michael Honaker said he couldn't disagree more.

"The Suboxone saved my life,” Honaker said. “I have no doubt in my mind – no doubt in my mind – that if I wouldn't have got into the Suboxone program, I have no doubt in my mind I wouldn't be here today."

More information is available from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV