Former heroin addict describes free drug rehab centers

Former heroin addict, Richie Farrell, paints a picture of free drug rehab in his book “What’s Left of Us”. Intelligent, acute, and witty, the book is a keeper. As a true blue former heroin addict, Richie lets us in on the struggles, dangers, and pain of beating heroin addiction and emerging with what’s left.

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Free drug rehab centers

The corridor leading to the front entrance smells like ether, hot air, and disinfectant all trapped in a tunnel with no exits.  When I reach the front desk, Mrs. Kay, the head nurse, is all alone getting the medications ready, filling tiny clear cups that hold white tags with patients’ last names.  I purposely whack the hand holding my toothbrush against the counter to announce my presence, but Mrs. Kay doesn’t acknowledge me.

“Mr. Farrell, step in the door up to the sink, brush your teeth, use the comb, and sit on the chair when you’re finished.”

While I wait in the blood pressure chair, I can see through the double doors to the Recreation Room. Everybody is watching the 700 Club, a religious show the orderly switched on. Mike is back from the shower, dressed, and sitting on the edge of his chair, rocking on his toes. His elbows are resting on his knees and his head has dropped forward into the palms of his hands. Doc sits next to Mike nonchalantly inhaling a Marlboro while Crazy Mary sits sideways with her mouth flapping in Doc’s face.

“Put your left arm out,” says Mrs. Kay.

Like a robot, I roll up my robe and extend my arm. The black band around my biceps pinches tighter and tighter as Mrs. Kay squeezes the black rubber bulb. I can feel my heart pounding in my left hand.

“Mrs. Kay, I’m worried about Mike,” I say. She pays no attention, pretending she can’t hear with the stethoscope balancing from each ear. Her eyes and ears zero in on the blood pressure gauge, watching and listening for the first and the last beat. Her eyes shift to the chart on the desk and the pressure releases in my arm. “Mrs. Kay,” I repeat. But before I can finish, she picks up a thermometer, snaps it back and forth in the air, and shoves it in my mouth. She jots something down in my chart and says, “Mr. Farrell, I would spend your time here worrying about you. Now go get some rest. Tomorrow, when it is mandatory for you to attend the morning meeting you’ll be free to discuss any issue you have.” I lower my head and when she finishes, walk into the Rec. Room and sit down in the chair next to Mary.

To be continued … What’s Left of Us


Have you been to a free drug rehab? How did you find it? Are free drug rehabs helpful? The staff courteous and kind?  Your comments are welcomed here.

About the author
Richie Farrell won the du-Pont-Columbia for directing the HBO documentary film, High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell. That film inspired the 2010 major motion picture The Fighter that went on to win academy awards for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. Farrell's memoir What’s Left of Us: A Memoir of Addiction has been optioned for a movie and currently in development. Richie Farrell is one of the top substance abuse and motivational speakers in the United States. More Info @ My Heroin Life.
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