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Doctor-prescribed painkillers led to woman’s Methamphetamine addiction

March 21, 2017

TAMPA, Fla. — Michelle Ringler will be away from her three kids until she feels like she has fully recovered from her drug addiction. The last thing she wants is to relapse and go back to using methamphetamine.

“It basically took everything that I love in just a couple of months,” Ringler said sitting at the Tampa Bay Sober Living halfway home.

Ringler says it started when she was prescribed painkillers after she gave birth to her third child. She says started taking hydrocodone, liked the feeling, and became addicted to opioids. When her prescription ran out and she could no longer afford to pay a doctor to get more pills, she switched to meth.

“It helped my withdrawals but it didn’t help my addiction,” she said.

Ringler fell deeper in love with the drug and had to ask her mom to take her kids.

“Got them in the car, put the baby in the backseat, put both of them in the backseat pretty much screaming, not wanting to go and begging me to go with them. And I wouldn’t,” she said. “The wanting to use is so incredibly, it’s so strong inside your body. It’s like at every fiber of your body. You need that. And you just don’t even think about anybody else.”

Like Ringler, many start down the path towards addiction with legal drugs. In 2015, more people died in Florida from using legal drugs than illegal drugs. 2,530 people died from prescription drug overdoses in the state.

Florida Senate Democrats are urging Gov. Rick Scott to declare a public health emergency over the growing opioid epidemic.

“Opioids are very good at covering pain and you want to adequately control legitimate pain,” Dr. Alfred Aleguas, Managing Director of the Florida Poison Information Center: http://www.poisoncentertampa.org/, said. ”

But if you crave that sensation, then, you’re going to go wherever you need to to fix it.”

Ringler is working on getting rid of her cravings at Tampa Bay Sober Living: http://www.tampabaysoberliving.org/. She’s staying away from drugs and focused on her goals. At the top of her list is getting her kids back.

“Before I started the whole addiction, I was a good mom. I did things with my kids. I had my son in football,” Ringler said. “I don’t want to let them down. And that’s the hardest thing.”