When Taylor Newkirk overdosed on heroin Jan. 24, it wasn’t a suicide attempt or even an attempt to get high, he said.
But it was a wake-up call that led to a second chance.
The 26-year-old Seymour resident was looking for a way to take away the pain and sickness of withdrawal from suboxone, a prescription painkiller he had been on for more than two years to help kick his drug addiction.
His doctor had been weaning him off suboxone by cutting his dose in half every month until finally he was cut off completely and released from the program.
“I started having withdrawal a few days later. That was on the 24th, so I went and picked up $25 worth of heroin. I was only trying to make it through work,” he said.
“You see a lot of addicts don’t even use because they want to get high,” he said. “They use because they don’t want to feel sick.”
He suspects the heroin was laced with fentanyl, making it even stronger and more dangerous.
“It was totally accidental,” he said of the overdose. “I had been clean off heroin for almost a year and was clean off of suboxone for a few days for the first time in years.”
Newkirk is one of at least 80 people in Jackson County who overdosed and were treated at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour this year. Of those, five died.
In 2015, 14 Jackson County residents, including 10 from Seymour, died from drug overdoses.
Communities across the nation are seeing similar spikes in the escalating opioid crisis.
Read the full story in Saturday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.