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Sioux Falls Heroin Addict On Road To Recovery

February 5, 2014, 5:55 PM by Perry Groten

Sioux Falls Heroin Addict On Road To Recovery

Investigators in New York City on Wednesday said an autopsy on the body of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman is inconclusive and that more tests will be needed to determine his cause of death. Police suspect the actor died of a heroin overdose.   But heroin isn't just the drug of choice among the Hollywood elite. People from all walks of life are at risk.

The Sioux Falls Treatment Center provides its patients with a daily dose of the pain killer methadone. The methadone blocks the euphoric high of heroin, so getting that rush no longer motivates the addict, making it easier to break the potentially-deadly habit.

Mark Hayes was in the grips of a $300 dollar a week heroin addiction.

"So $1,200 a month, it became pretty expensive. I was fortunate to have a job that supported my habit, which made it easier to hide," Hayes said.

But the addiction that Hayes took pains to hide from others became too severe for him to ignore.

"If I had not come here, I'd probably, I'd be dead now. Yeah, without a question, just how how my usage was escalating, it was just more and more," Hayes said.

Hayes' daily doses of methadone now keep his addiction in check.

"It's nice to have that peace of mind now. I come in every day. I take my dose and then I go to work," Hayes said.

"They're glad to be able to come here and do this legally and at low cost. It's safe for them and they're getting the counseling that they need to take care of whatever problems they've developed in their life so they can have a long-term successful recovery," Sioux Falls Treatment Center Program Director Mary Gochal said.

Some critics say methadone is not an effective addiction treatment because it merely substitutes one drug for another. But Hayes says methadone works because he no longer has cravings or withdrawal symptoms.

"I don't have the urge. I'm not waking up like where's my pill, or I gotta call somebody to get my fix. I get up in the morning, shower, get dressed like a normal person," Hayes said.

A life without heroin is a new normal for Hayes. He hopes to complete his treatment in six more months. 

Hayes says he first got hooked on pain killers after he injured his wrist. When pain killers didn't provide a powerful enough high, he moved onto heroin.

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