Oxy addiction shows up in reality TV with devastating effects

Hank Tolers from "Coal" on Spike TV

In case there was any doubt about the pervasive effects of Oxy abuse in modern culture, reality TV show “Coal” on Spike TV featured a story about a miner addicted to oxycodone last week. During the show, which follows miners with Cobalt Coal in West Virginia, CEO Mike Crowder discovered miner Hank Toler was taking painkillers without a prescription. Like many who are addicted to narcotics, Toler became hooked on the drug after an injury in 2004 and was unable to quit despite his attempts with suboxone, a low-dosage opiate that is often used to treat OxyContin and heroin addiction. Unfortunately for Toler, his inability to address his addiction cost him his job and he was fired by the end of the episode.

“Coal” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Spike TV. To see the full episode, go here.

About Dana Owens

Dana Owens is San Francisco-based writer, editor and blogger who works on diverse projects from holistic health research to record label promotion. In addition to lending her editorial eye to Oxy Watchdog, Dana also acts as copyeditor for 99 Series, Inc. and executive assistant/project coordinator for Heartline Productions.
This entry was posted in Informational, Personal Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Oxy addiction shows up in reality TV with devastating effects

  1. Hope says:

    Unless you have been addicted to Oxy, you cannot know just how powerful of a drug addiction can come from the use of this painkiller. Like this poor soul, I was prescribed Oxy for legitimate back condition. At first it was a Godsend, I finally for the first time in years was able to live relatively pain free. But that drug does more then alleviate physical pain – it produces an amazingly good feeling, it’s like nothing I ever felt and for awhile it worked so well–too well as a matter of fact.

    I ended up gradually becoming addicted to Oxy. I found my weeks worth of pills gone in just a few days and then I’d be scrambling to try and buy off the street at insane prices. Slowly I decended into addictive hell. I tried cold turkey a couple times and made it through the WORST withdrawls ever but a month in the MENTAL part – the hardest part of detoxing – caught up with me and I relapsed. I had always suffered from depression and anxiety and after successfully numbing those feelings for so long, I was not prepared for the onslaught of severe depression and anxiety that followed my detox. At one point I wanted to slam my van into a pole. The misery I felt post detox was unrelenting and unending. I went back to using oxy – once again at first I managed to keep it at my prescribed dose but sure enough that all changed and I found myself just as addicted as before. Back to square one. I finally sought treatment. I was petrified to do so before. I have two young children and was convinced that seeking help might jeopardize my custody of them. The idea of there even being the faintest chance that they might be taken from me kept me from seeking help for a long long time. It’s a crying shame that mothers have to be scared to get treatment for fear that they will have their kids taken away. Of course I can see some cases where the child should be taken (the mother is so strung out that she is unable to care for her kids) but that wasn’t the case with me. In fact, nobody knew I was an addict. I take excellent care of my kids and considered myself to be a high functioning addict. But an addict nonetheless. But unfortunately the medical community tends to paint us all with one black brush and we are looked down upon. “She’s a pill abuser – she cannot possibly be able to take care of her kids, lets take them” is the mentality of these people who are supposed to be helping addicts. But I took a chance after finding a suboxone doctor who I believed I could trust. My faith in him proved to be correct. I have been on suboxone for a few months and even though I have had some slip ups, (the suboxone does NOTHING for pain and sometimes I can’t stand the pain anymore and end up taking one or two pills–I know I’m not supposed to but hey, I’ve gone from taking 100+mgs of oxy a day to just 40-60 mgs the odd time when I really need it. My doctor still frowns when I pee dirty but remarkably, seems understanding when I explain WHY I mess up from time to time. I have heard stories of people being immediately dismissed from a methadone/suboxone program for ONE slip. That is incredibly ridiculous. So cancel the patient and in essence send them back into full blown addiction again – over one mishap. Unfair and irresponsible on the providers part in my opinion. So although I am trying to get my life together with the help of suboxone, I still battle the pain that was the original reason why I was ever on oxy to begin with. It really sucks. On one hand I have severe pain that truly warrants pain relief but on the other I know I cannot take the meds that being me relief like I’m supposed to so I’m stuck taking something to keep my addiction at bay but gives me zero pain relief. That’s why I occasionally slip. I don’t think I should be made to suffer in pain and this is what I’ve found works for me. Taking my suboxone regularly and when I really need it I take one or two pills. It’s better then the alternative – taking 100+ mgs a day of oxy, risking overdose and wasting money on street bought pills. If I had my time back I would have RUN when offered oxy for pain relief. If I had only known then the severely addictive nature of oxy and that the next two years of my life would be consumed by the drug I would have rather suffered the physical pain then endure the heartbreak of becoming an addict and all the crazyness that comes with that. Opiates can be both a life saver and life taker. There is a thin line and once you’ve crossed the line into addiction from dependence, by the time you realize you have a problem, your in too deep to just stop and your life as you knew it is over. I have a lot of regrets tied to my oxy addiction. A lot of “if only’s” and a lot of “why me?” but in the end it has to be me who takes charge and one day I hope to be medication free. I’m a long ways from that day but I’m never giving up. Sadly our numbers are dismal. Rare is the opiate addict that can get clean – and STAY clean. Opiates screw with your brain and I don’t think after addiction to oxy etc that your ever going to be the same again. Staying clean is very hard but yes it is do-able. There are many who taper successfully from oxy, sub, methadone etc but more times then not they relapse. It’s just such a powerful addiction that alters your mind and your thinking forever. Still, I hold out hope that one day I’ll be able to manage my pain by other non-narcotic means and that I will be able to get off suboxone when I’m ready. My heart goes out to all addicts. We never asked for this. God knows we’ve suffered tremendously from being addicts and the reality is a lot of people will continue to die as a result of their addiction. Unless the stigma of being an addict is addressed and people, mothers in particular, can seek help without fear of being labelled a bad mom by CPS..addicts will continue to be stuck in addiction for fear of being “punished” if they seek help by having their kids taken away right down to being looked down upon my the medical community. There is little sympathy for addicts in the medical community. For people who are supposed to be trained in such areas, they are sadly ignorant of the reality of addiction. Instead of crucifying addicts, they need to be more open to helping addicts. It saddened me to see Hank lose his job. Is it not the law that companies need to help employees suffering from addictions to get into recovery? Firing him was not the answer and shows just how ignorant in general the public is about addiction. This man should have gotten offered help. Sub is incredibly expensive and if the company could have helped him by paying for it then that would have been the right thing to do. Firing him was not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *