As the opioid epidemic in America continues to grow, it’s important to put a face to those who are struggling with addiction. VICELAND’s docu-series, Dopesick Nation, is doing just that. The show follows two people who work in South Florida’s treatment industry, both recovering from addictions themselves, as they attempt to help those who aren’t able to afford rehab or tell their stories.
In this week’s episode, we meet Tiffany, a 22-year-old who has been struggling with addiction for six years. Like many, she started taking opiate pills before moving on to one of the most dangerous drugs on the street, Fentanyl. To support her addiction, she turns to sex work and also exchanges sex for rent, which she calls "submitting."
As she explains in the above clip, Tiffany’s addiction started as a way to self-medicate after being raped as a teen. She’s not alone: Victims of sexual abuse are 26 times more likely to abuse drugs. In addition, over one-third of individuals with PTSD suffer from Substance Use Disorder, and one-half to two-thirds of people who suffer from drug addiction have PTSD, often stemming from childhood sexual violence.
"I might do a lot of really horrible things, and people think that I’m like totally okay with myself after doing them, but I’m not," she said. "I just do drugs to try and numb myself from all the pain I’m feeling inside 24/7."
Those struggling with addiction or related issues can visit the official federal government SAMHSA National Helpline website for treatment information.