ROCHESTER — Like many with an opioid addiction, Amanda Krauskoff was first given the drug that immediately sent her life into a downward spiral by someone in the medical field — her own doctor.
Amanda Krauskoff of Madison Heights getting her eye brow waxed. Photo by Erin Sanchez
Krauskoff, who has struggled with anxiety and depression her entire life, now has to battle an opioid addiction.
“It’s been about 15 years of addiction, on and off. More on than off,” she said.
As a high school junior, Krauskoff took to self-medicating with pills — mainly Xanax — in an effort to escape her struggle with mental health.
“When I got to college, I started smoking weed and drinking, and I had a few health issues, so I was prescribed opiates, like Vicodin, for that. I began to self-medicate with that to help cope with my anxiety and depression. That really spiraled out of control,” she said.
By the time the doctor cut off her opiate supply, Krauskoff was already addicted.
“I began buying them off the street, off some people that I knew, and I ended up in a toxic marriage, which I’m no longer in. Through that divorce, I turned to heroin. So from about the age of 24 until now, heroin has been my drug of choice,” she explained.
Despite all of her efforts, including checking herself into numerous rehabilitation facilities over the years, Krauskoff has continued to battle her addiction.
“I have been in and out of rehab facilities during my addiction. However, the majority of them are only up to about three days, and for most of us, that’s just not enough time to gain the life skills that are needed to then take back out into the real world and also be able to apply them and learn to cope with life, the everyday stressors, without the use of mind-altering substances,” she said. “I tried that route a couple of different times and still wound up in the same position once I left there.”
Today, with the help of the Women’s Program at Grace Centers of Hope, Krauskoff is nearing her fifth month of recovery.
“It’s, by far, the longest period of time that I have acquired thus far,” she said. “I signed up and came in, and it’s been a life changer ever since.”
Dr. Pam Clark, who directs the Women’s Program for Grace Centers of Hope, said Krauskoff’s story is all too common.
“She’s a textbook case. She’s young. She was from the suburbs, and she got addicted to opioids and went straight to heroin,” Clark said. “That’s what usually happens. That’s what the courts and counselors are seeing. Young people are diagnosed — whether it be a football player who hurts their back or someone who falls down the steps or something — and a doctor continues to give them those opioids, and then they’re hooked. When the doctor finally cuts them off, the street drug heroin is cheaper, and it’s also 1,000 times stronger.”
Opioid addiction is now an epidemic in Michigan, according to Clark.
“One hundred people a day are overdosing in this country,” she said. “It’s the worst I’ve ever seen it.”
The issue is so widespread that the Women’s Program — which supports homeless women in addiction recovery and their children as they work to rebuild their lives — continues to have a long waitlist of women of all ages and backgrounds seeking entry.
“It’s taking over our suburbs and our young women, and they’re dying. … I haven’t seen anyone above 50 that’s on heroin. They just don’t survive. And now they’re lacing it with fentanyl and everything else you can imagine, and nobody knows it,” Clark said.
The Women’s Program at Grace Centers of Hope is a one-year rehabilitation program that Clark said helps homeless women battling addiction and their families transition to stable housing, sobriety and employment.
To raise money for the program, Grace Centers of Hope will host its 21st annual Women Helping Women Luncheon and Fashion Show 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 27 at the Royal Park Hotel in downtown Rochester.
“We’re hoping to raise over $200,000 for the women and children that come to Grace, because we do not charge them. It’s free,” Clark said.
The fundraiser will showcase spring fashion trends modeled by professional models, as well as formerly homeless women who are currently in Grace Centers of Hope programs.
There will be a silent auction preview and a luncheon.
Tickets cost $100 each, and all proceeds will benefit the Women’s Program.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call Olivia Jones at (855) HELP-GCH or visit here.