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The opioid Crisis Episode 

Since the year 2000, more than 500,000 Americans have died of opioid overdoses, millions of Americans have become addicted. Our sons our daughters, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, brothers sisters. This rise in opioid overdose deaths can be outlined in three distinct waves. Beginning in the 1990s is when we saw the first increase in prescribing of opioids. overdose deaths started involving prescription opioids, including natural and semi synthetic opioids and methadone. The second wave began in 2010, with a rapid increase in overdose deaths that started involving heroin. The third wave began in 2013, which coincidentally is around the same time I started dabbling in percocets significant increase in overdose deaths or involving synthetic opioids, particularly those involving manufactured fentanyl. The market for illicitly manufactured fentanyl continues to change. And it can be found in a combination of drugs like heroin, counterfeit pills, and cocaine. It is extremely lethal. It is extremely dangerous. Please be careful. Did you know that every 25 minutes a baby is born with opioid withdrawal? The US government estimates that the cost of opioid abuse is over $1 trillion. We call this the opioid crisis. But a crisis is just something that happens. What if we discovered that the opioid crisis was caused by businesses seeking to profit from our pain? What if behind the crisis, there was a spectacular crime?

In 2015, I lost a great friend, to a fatal overdose, his name was Joey and I miss him dearly.

Hello, my name is Emily Lehmann and this is In Lehmann's Terms podcast, Fuck Big Pharma. And welcome to In Lehmann's Terms Podcast. I am five years sober from opioids. I am thankful and lucky enough to have survived the opioid crisis when I was living in Cincinnati, Ohio, and in 2013 on you know, a spring break trip the drug was introduced to me and from there, things just really took off. And I abused Percocet, Xanax, Valium, whatever type of benzo I could get my hands on for four and a half to five years, probably from 2013 to 2017. Ish, give or take. My goal of this podcast is really to bring awareness and help share resources with people who might not know where to find them or even know what resources are available to them. When I was going through my recovery, I did not go to NA, I did not attend to NA, I didn't do any of the 12 step programs. I really went on my own journey through my sobriety. And everyone's path to sobriety is different in this space is to be a no-judgment zone, and really just opening up the dialogue.



And since the pandemic, I believe there are now 10 million people in America that have an addiction. And those are people who are able to admit that they have a problem. Think of all the people who are still in denial. 10 million people. I mean, that's fucking crazy. And people need help and I want to use my voice and give back. So that's what this podcast is. That's why I'm doing this and I hope you guys enjoy the people that I'm going to interview and talk to With the stories that will be shared over this show, and I'm just so excited, I've already learned so much doing this and learned so much from others. I've learned so much about myself. And, you know, I'm ready to provide my listeners with the tools and the guidance and the motivation they need to help navigate them through their recovery and personal growth one day at a time, even if you're sober, curious, please listen in.



This is a show for everybody. It took me a long time to really identify with my sobriety because of the stigma that surrounds addiction and mental health. And I'm just really excited to open up the dialogue. A little bit about me, I'm 28 years old. I currently live in Los Angeles, I'm five years sober. I abused opioids and was given heroin. I was given heroin by someone that I trusted. And I was unaware that I was given it obviously, I was not shooting up. I was all the drugs I was doing. I was snorting them. I've never used needles. That's just not my vibe. During my addiction, you know, I lost friendships, I lost friends. I was robbed at gunpoint in my home, right after Christmas, one year, my dog was hit by a car and passed away. The house that I lived in, caught on fire. I used to have a cat, I have no idea what happened to him. So there will definitely be a lot of stories and I'm thinking about what I just said, I love animals.....


My dog was hit by a car, I wasn't there at the time. So I had nothing to do with that situation. And my cat was living at the place where it was grew up and raised where I used to live, and I had moved out and the person that lived there, you know, stopped feeding it stopped taking care of it. And, you know, I just never I don't know if Sosa found a new home or, you know, whatever. I like to think he's out there somewhere living a better life.

As you know, addiction runs in my family. My aunt, growing up, was a heroin addict. She had been a drug addict my whole life. It was very rare that she was allowed to be around my siblings and I there were a few vacations that she came on with us as a family. She ended up passing away and overdosing my freshman year of college. I remember my I was at Alabama at the time the University of Alabama and my sister called me and she's like, have you talked to dad did you hear about aunt Laurie. And I at the time, my dad had not called me yet. But in that moment, I absolutely knew that she had passed away or something very drastic had happened.

And she was on life support for two days, maybe she was brain dead. She was found in her apartment unconscious. not breathing, she you know, didn't have enough oxygen getting to her brain. So she was, you know, pronounced brain dead. My dad's decision was to turn off all of the machines that is, you know, a family's personal choice. If there's no brain function, and I have those same beliefs if I was ever an accident, or something I would never want to be in a vegetative state.

So growing up, my dad absolutely shared and was very vocal about the dangers of drugs. From a very young age. You know, I remember sitting on couches with my brother and sister and my dad saying certain scenarios and certain things you know, if someone tries to come and pick you up from school, and it's not your I had a nanny named Peggy if it's not Peggy or it's not me or your mom, or Marvin, one of my dad's really good friends like you don't get in the car with them like all these things. My dad had like this super crazy, like security system in our house growing up every single window that open behaved Um, you know, just like, always was taking those precautions.


My dad's sister would tell her drug dealers that "you know, my brother lives here he lives in like a very good part of town. He has children, this is where they go to school", things like that put my siblings and I in danger. So I know and I've seen firsthand what drugs can do to a person to a family. You know, my aunt. I don't know why she ended up in the hospital once but my dad took me with her I think she might have had like scabies or something which is so fucking gross. But I don't know if she had like overdosed or I think she like had like some freakout and was like hallucinating and like climbing on her skin, and she like, had to be admitted to the hospital, and my dad took me with him to go. And I remember walking in to the hospital, and it was just, just me and my dad, and it's very quiet. It's like very eerie just walk in, and there's all these scabs and like ratty hair, and God, I don't even know how old I was maybe like, 14. And it's sad to see someone and it's, you know, I don't I never really knew my outlawry I have very few memories of her. All good, though. Well, I guess that's not true. All the times that I was physically in her presence. I don't have any bad memories.


But you know, I do you have memories of her calling my dad in the middle of our dinners and screaming and yelling at him saying, you know what a piece of shit he is for not giving her more money, or she's gonna kill herself if he doesn't do this. And, you know, this went on for years and years and years. And I can only imagine how taxing that gets to be on someone to go through that for years and years and years. And she, you know, had been to jail multiple times, I think she, like robbed a bank with somebody, she would get high and like, drive her car down the street, and then record into a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road, and I'm just like, get out and leave it.



And yes, all of this is so fucking crazy. But at the end of the day, my aunt Laurie was not in her right mindset. That wasn't really my aunt Laurie, that wasn't the girl My dad grew up with addiction takes and takes and takes and turned you into this person that you never imagined you could be. And you don't want to steal from your family, you don't want to throw your brother under the bus or do or not show up for your kids sporting event, or whatever it might be that you're missing out on or you're throwing away those relationships with or addiction is a mental health issue. And the resources for people who are struggling with addiction is absolute shit.

We have to do better. And speaking from my own experiences as a young girl in her 20s, early 20s, I was not aware of any resources for me to go to join, like, Sure, I guess I could have looked on Facebook for like a community or a group, which I do now. But I think it's way more common now. Or you know, maybe I just like, I don't know, I didn't think to do that. And finding your community is so so important in maintaining your sobriety and finding like-minded people whom you can communicate with and you can relate to and you can talk to and express what you're going through and you just if you take anything from this is that finding a community that you vibe with and that is good for you? It doesn't matter what people think. Or if people say no, you're not sober or no sobriety only works this way. Literally, tell them to go fuck off. You can have your sobriety however you want. You can do it however you want. I'm living proof. I didn't do 12 steps. I didn't go to na I didn't go to an inpatient or an outpatient facility.



Once again, this is my path. And this doesn't work for everyone, some people will need the help of medical professionals and I highly, highly recommend that if you are seeking sobriety and to get sober, that you do seek a professional, I was just young and stupid, and that it's just what happened and what worked for me hot yoga, journaling. Finding my spirituality and growing and learning so much about myself is how I got sober, that's not going to work for everybody. And that's really what I've been learning so much over these last few months is that no one else gets to dictate what you call your sobriety. You get to be whatever you want to be in. I've met so many people, by starting this podcast and so many people that I've talked to and to hear their stories and to see how far they've come. It's so inspiring, and I can't wait for you guys to hear everything and, and I hope that you guys can learn and find self-worth, and know that there's nothing to be ashamed of. I think that's something I struggled with for a long time is shame. And embarrassment, addiction, I feel like is a dirty word. It's a heavy word. It's, you know, you typically think of someone who's disheveled, homeless, smelly, like, you know, you don't think it's some like cute little girl walking down the street, or the bank teller or the person who's serving you drinks at the bar, who might be an addiction, does not see color, it does not see race, it does not fucking discriminate, addiction will get anyone and like I said 10 million people are struggling with addiction right now.



And, you know, I feel like that numbers honestly probably a little low. But I mean, so many people need resources and need help. And that's what I'm going to be doing on this podcast is learning and more about addiction recovery, and D stigmatizing mental health. I'm just really excited to share other people's unique journeys and let you guys know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and just to keep going and no matter what it is you want to do in life, you can do it. You just have to keep pushing and find that community in that structure. And you'll get there you can't compare yourself to people, you just have to do what's best for you. And you have to be patient sobriety is not an overnight thing.



There will be mistakes, there will be relapses there will be bumps in the road. It's hard, this you cannot cut corners, is so rewarding to be sitting here and doing this. And using my voice to help spread awareness for addiction and opioid, the opioid crisis at It's crazy. I feel like people really, you know, you hear about it. But you don't really understand the magnitude of who and how many people it's affecting.



You know, I talked to my mom last month or something and really had an honest conversation. And we talked about really how bad my drug use at the time was. And she was asking me questions, and she was like, Okay, so, you know, like, how, how often were you using these drugs? And I was like, Well, I was using them all day every day. And she's like, What do you mean? I was like, What do you mean? And she's like, she just like, couldn't understand. And like, I was like, literally every single time that you probably saw me from 2013 to 2017. I was high on Percocet, Xanax. And I don't even know what else. I've literally remember. This is when I had moved back in with my parents and I was in the process of getting sober. And I was going through Xanax withdrawal. And I was standing in my parents kitchen. And I had noticed for a few days that I was getting these like weird, yellow blotchy spots on my skin. I'm like, Huh, that's so weird. Like jaundice. Like, my mom works in the healthcare industry. And I remember being like, do you know what this could be? And I was like asking my dad and like, This is so weird, like, my skin is turning yellow. And then I started doing a little research on Google and lo and behold a sign of Xanax withdrawal. is getting like yellows, bunches of jaundice. And I'm like literally asking my parents like, oh, what's wrong with me? And like, my parents had no fucking idea and grant like, I mean, why would they? It's just really crazy. And you know, withdrawing from benzos is extremely dangerous. please seek medical help, or a friend, a family member and nurse, a doctor, go to an inpatient facility, don't just do these things on your own. Please always ask for help. I did not ask for help. I wanted to do everything on my own. And, you know, I'm very lucky to be here and be sharing my story with you guys.


So don't ever feel embarrassed or ashamed. Your family or friends, your loved ones will be much happier that you came to them. And you know, then you're asking for help, then, you know, planning a funeral, you know, it's a really harsh reality. And I've been to I've lost a handful of friends to the opioid crisis. And I wouldn't wish that on anyone. So if you need to speak out, or ask for help, reach out to me reach out to someone you trust, reach out to a doctor or a family member. literally anyone, there's nothing to be ashamed of everyone makes mistakes. It's not even like a mistake.


Everyone is human people have issues, whether you're addicted to food, porn, technology, pills, alcohol like everyone has their vice. And part of coming to terms with that and getting on the right track is admitting that you could have a problem and coming to terms with asking for help. And if you can get there to that step. In that realization, the possibilities are endless for you just don't give up and keep fighting and keep fighting for that light, you know, you'll get there. I'm living proof there plenty of times where, you know, I was laying on my floor, going through withdrawal and literally feeling like death and being like, I just want to give up, I cannot keep doing this anymore. Like why am I doing this to myself, but you will get there. It's just you have to be patient with yourself. And you have to find a routine and you have to find things that work for you. And not everything is gonna work for you what works for Sally, Sue isn't gonna work for you, Tom or X, Y and Z, you just have to be patient.


And I just, I'm really thankful to be here. I'm really excited to start this journey with you guys. And if there's ever anything you guys want me to cover on the show, please let me know. I'll attach my email in the show notes. Please leave a review or subscribe. Leave me feedback. I'd love to know what you guys like, what you don't like, what you want more of what you don't want more of. I cannot thank you guys enough for listening. And thank you so much for supporting me and those of you who pushed me to do this, you know who you are. And I will forever be grateful for you guys. And finding that support you guys is so important. And I'm excited for you guys to start listening to these episodes in these interviews and see where the show takes us. I hope you tune in. I hope you keep coming back for more. If there's anything you ever want me to discuss, you know what to do, just let me know. And I hope you guys really enjoy these interviews and you learn and you gain knowledge from them. And, you know, I'm really looking forward to opening up this dialogue with you guys and being able to continue to learn and grow together. So with that being said, I am gonna jump off of here I hope you guys enjoy in layman's terms, and you can dive into some episodes and let me know your feedback. Thank you for joining us today on this episode and hopefully, we could put this lesson into layman's terms. See you guys next episode.

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