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Let's Talk About It: Substance Abuse

Hundreds of Mainers are in recovery but say regardless of how long they've been clean, they still face stigma associated with addiction.

PORTLAND, Maine — In the state's most recent report, there were close to 800 drug overdoses in Maine in one month. 64 of those were fatal.

Hundreds of Mainers are given a second chance at life after an overdose, including Shawn Jordan and Brandon Mcphail.

Both men said they started using drugs when they were teenagers after being prescribed medications for injuries, but the drugs made their lives spiral out of control.

"I've overdosed," Jordan said.

He added that he lost everything, including his wife and son.

"She showed up with divorce papers and because I was so out of it I had no clue what I was signing," he said. After getting clean, he and his wife got back together and had a second child, but he said it wasn't easy.

"Heroin, fentanyl, whatever I can get my hands on it was just, more," Mcphail said describing his thoughts while using drugs.

He said he had seen substance abuse affect his family.

"It's ravished, my whole family. I lost my sister to it, my dad pretty much killed himself from alcohol, my brother's been in and out of comas from it," he said.

Eventually, Jordan and Mcphail said they had both had enough.

Jordan has been clean for 12 years, and Mcphail has been clean for 5 months, but still, they said they deal with the stigma.

"I was always discriminated against," Jordan said.

Jordan added people often think addicts look a certain way.

"Oh you're skinny and your cheeks are indented you must be a crack addict," he said,

Both men said they never want to go back to using drugs.

"The gifts of sobriety are just amazing I wouldn't change anything I have now for the life I had before," Mcphail said.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction the national helpline is 1-800-662-4357.


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