TOGETHER, WE’RE BUILDING A COMMUNITY RESPONSE TO THE OPIOID CRISIS.
THIS IS CAM’S STORY.
Cam was a college freshman with a baseball scholarship and aspirations of becoming a professional player. He would later drop out of school and pawn all of his sports equipment for money to buy heroin.
Cam lost his father, a professional hockey player and Cam’s idol, at a young age. At the same time, his mother was diagnosed with cancer. This experience, he says, helped contribute to his disease: “I was seven when he died and it was painful. It still hurts.” He began to drink heavily and use opiates and other drugs in high school to be more sociable and try to fill the emptiness he felt.
Cam began to use opiates almost every day and was soon introduced to heroin by a friend. When he first tried it, he felt better than he had ever felt. The first time he experienced withdrawal symptoms, he thought he might have the flu. “You’re dope-sick,” his friend told him. “I didn’t even know what that was,” Cam says.
At 19, Cam was hospitalized while detoxing from drugs. “My mom took me to the hospital. She didn’t know what to do or how to respond.” At the time, Cam was treated for his medical symptoms and he and his mother were provided a pamphlet of information on where to seek treatment. Cam would later learn that this method is not enough for those struggling with substance use disorder.