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Women recover from prescription drug abuse

MATTOON -- Two women, recovering from prescription drug abuse, tell their story.
MATTOON -- Not too long ago, Karie Clapham was hiding a secret.

She says, “I was doctor-shopping, seeing what doctors I could get into, and making up reasons why I needed pain medicine.”

Doctors originally gave her pain medicine following knee surgery, but she got addicted to the medicine.

“I was using Tylenol three, I was using hydrocodone, I was using morphine, oxycodone, even tramadol sometimes.”

Doctors say it’s the opiates in these drugs that may leads to addiction.

Clapham says, “I had the choice to either take the pills or call my friend who had just gotten clean and got on the right path and I chose to call my friend."

That friend was Janelle Hesse.

She says, “she called me one morning and she said, 'I’m ready.'”

She was ready to do what Janelle Hesse has already done.

“I lost a lot. I lost a lot. I was married. I lost my husband. I lost my home.”

She goes on to say “mine progressed beyond pain pills.”

Doctors say it’s because painkillers are gateway drugs; meaning they can lead people to stronger drugs like cocaine and heroin. Illinois has the 12th lowest rate of deaths from drug overdoses, but that number is on the rise.

It’s up nearly 50 percent from a decade ago. Most of those overdoses are from prescription drugs. But Illinois is doing better than a lot of states at getting people clean, people like Janelle.

“You have that 'aha' moment they say and when you have that, it’s such a good feeling. It took awhile for me to let go of the past and realize that the person that I was on the medication is not the person that I am.”

Both women are finding out who they are together; going to counseling and focusing on what’s most important.

Clapham wants everyone to know “you can do it. If I can do it, anybody can do it. You can see that there's life on the other side.”

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