Angelee Murray always struggled with migraines. As a 10-year-old, she vividly remembers going to her mother about her headaches and trying different remedies to ease the pain. As she grew older, the migraines got worse. Angelee and her mother saw numerous specialists to no avail.
After more than 20 years of migraines, Angelee couldn't take it anymore. She went to a migraine specialist at one of the finest medical centers in the United States. The migraine specialist prescribed her opioid pain relievers – 10 mg of Hydrocodone, 10 times a day. Two and a half years later, Angelee was taking up to 300 pills a month.
One day she caught herself asking, "Where can I get more pills?" She knew at that moment she had a problem and needed to talk with her doctor.
Angelee remembers the day she told her doctor not to refill her prescription as one of the hardest days of her life. She knew she could become addicted by taking the medication, but she had thought the doctor knew what he was doing and that it would not happen to her.
The withdrawal was miserable. Luckily, Angelee had strong family support that helped her get through this difficult time.
Once off the pills, Angelee was able to realize how using the pills affected her life and family. After almost 2 1/2 years of feeling numb due to her addiction, she was finally able to take part in family activities, and experience and show emotion again.
Angelee has been in recovery for almost 10 years now. An active voice in the recovery movement, she was glad the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an opioid prescribing guideline for chronic pain. This guideline provides advice to doctors to prevent situations like hers from happening to others.
Angelee's nonprofit Red Legacy Recovery helps women who struggle with alcohol and prescription drug addiction rebuild their lives. Angelee also advocates for medication-assisted treatment.