CleanSlate Director Brian Coonan first posted this blog on

Recently, I sat with a 46-year-old mother of three whose 24-year-old son recently overdosed for the third time in 5 weeks.  ?How does it keep happening?? she asked, rhetorically.

At this point in her son’s life, she knows the routine that his disease creates.  He uses drugs that he buys off the street to alleviate the sickness that opiate withdrawal causes, and drugs on the street are filled with more than you bargained for.  Twice in the past 2 weeks, this young man took what he thought was Percocet, an opioid used for pain management, only to find out the Perc that he bought was laced with Fentanyl, a highly potent opioid which increases the risk of overdose.

A twisted, devious characteristic that addiction carries is that people affected will seek out the street drugs that have caused overdose because they are the strongest version of the drugs that will help stop the withdrawal symptoms.  Does a person want to overdose?  Rarely.  Does her son want to overdose?  Speaking with him today, there is nothing that scares him more.  His brain just can’t accurately weigh the risks of overdose against the constant drive to use opiates.  It’s a story we hear every day.

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The Facts About Medication Treatment For Opioid Addiction

The Economic Costs Of The Opioid Epidemic Means We Invest Now Or Pay Later

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Brian Coonan

Brian Coonan, MPA, LSW is the Regional Director of Operations in PA and CT for CleanSlate, a leading national medical group that provides office-based outpatient medication treatment for the chronic disease of addiction, primarily alcohol and opioid use disorders.