Ben Francis became addicted to opioid painkillers in high school after a soccer injury. Today, he helps others struggling with addiction through an opiate epidemic task force.
Former Opioid User Discusses Withdrawal and Recovery
Published: October 19, 2018
Onscreen: Ben Francis became addicted to opioid painkillers in high school after a soccer injury. He eventually turned to heroin. In college, Ben found himself unable to function without it.
Ben: The euphoria was gone. The excitement, the connection, was all gone. It was all about not feeling sick, not throwing up, not shaking. On the days when I couldn’t get a hold of my dealer, I couldn’t eat because I was so sick.
To explain withdrawal, imagine being stuck underwater, holding your breath, and not being able to surface. Your body starts panicking. All you want is that fresh breath of air and you just have to wait. Your body is screaming. Your body is panicking. You can’t think about anything else. No other thought crosses your mind.
Onscreen: Ben lived from fix to fix for nearly a decade, trying to keep withdrawal at bay. He cycled through detox and relapse until finally, he vowed to make a permanent change
Ben: I went through the detox. I came home and I got into an outpatient program for Suboxone. And every minute, every second, was one more that I was sober. And I just kept celebrating every month.
Now, I’m at a place where I’m three years sober. Suboxone let me get right back into life. I don’t even think about heroin anymore.
Onscreen: Today, Ben gives talks and works as a peer with the Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force
Ben: Really, I’m just devoting every second to helping people and showing them that there is a way out. Because if I could get out, anyone could get out. And I just feel like after 10 years of taking and taking and taking, I need to give back. I feel drawn to helping people because I know that everybody has the capacity to climb out of it.
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