Perry recalls addiction

CAMBRIDGE – “I was injured at work,” Shantay Perry recalled in a conversation with the Banner. “I got a prescription for pain pills.”

That’s how addiction starts for many – legal drugs prescribed by a doctor for a valid reason – later developing into an illegal habit.

This month, The Dorchester Banner has joined many local agencies, companies and individuals in “Going Purple,” displaying the color as a sign of awareness of the opioid abuse epidemic in the county and nationally. Ms. Perry contacted the Banner and expressed a desire to share her story of addiction and recovery.

In April of last year, she was working in a store, lifting cases of sugar. “I was stocking shelves,” she said, when she injured her back.

As her back healed, her habit grew. Going to different doctors looking for more pills attracted attention and she was cut off from the legal sources of painkillers.

“It got to the point I got it from the street,” she said. Oxycodone and Percocet maintained her habit for some time, until Ms. Perry felt she had reached a crossroads. “I decided to go into a program,” she said.

She began working with Community Behavioral Health last month, where she is learning strategies to avoid relapsing. She is relying on her friends and family, as well as the congregation at Waugh United Methodist Church in Cambridge. “My church family has been amazing,” she said.

She is strong enough now to offer advice to others who might be in the same situation. “If doctors give you a prescription, don’t keep going back,” she said.

“I want to tell somebody else that there is a place you can go to get help,” she said. “I hope my story can help someone.”

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