FOREST CITY, Iowa- For the first time Mike Haugen, a former Iowa State Patrol Sergeant, is speaking to the public about a harrowing battle that changed his life forever.
“Little nervous,” he said.
Nervous, but empowered. Empowered to share how addiction to opioids can happen to anyone.
“It doesn’t discriminate,” Haugen said. “Once a person becomes an addict it’s with them the rest of their life. You need to learn how to defeat the demons.”
Haugen remembers the dark days taking the pills from the Iowa State Patrol evidence room. But he said he said he didn’t know it was wrong at the time.
“Was what I was doing wrong? Yeah. But the power of opiates is so overwhelming it’ll control you and make you feel irrational things are rational. Looking back, there was nothing rational about what I was doing.”
His mission now is to share the details of his struggle. He wants to share his story with people like Lowell Solberg who has been prescribed opioids.
“I didn’t know they could be addictive,” he said. “You just trust your doctor.”
Lowell managed to avoid addiction. But he is Haugen’s neighbor and remembers his friend’s pain while in the grip of dependence.
“I saw the time when the pain was so great that he just passed out,” said Solberg.
Still recovering, Haugen wants to help others avoid addiction.
“I came a long way,” Haugen said. “I was glad to get help when I did - before it was too late and ended up a statistic under the ground.”
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