One man's addiction: The first in a two-part series

Melissa Jenkins
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Jared Evely speaks about seven years of drug dependency

In August of 2013, Jared Evely of Victoria, Conception Bay North purchased a Cadillac Escalade.

Jared Evely of Victoria has been in the province's Methadone program since August 2012

Buying the high-end sport utility vehicle was a big moment for the 27-year-old. It marked one year of his success in the province's methadone program.

Jared spent years with an opioid addiction, which began in 2005 as "just a few pills." But those few pills eventually led into a full-blown addiction. He would snort crushed pills, and after that was no longer effective, he began injecting them.

For the last six months prior to entering the program, he was injecting heroin regularly.

In 2012, after being confronted by his mom, he realized he needed help.

Drug history

A star athlete in high school, Jared came from a loving family with two older sisters and parents who supported him in everything he did. Many would not believe this popular teenager would ever resort to taking drugs.

He was not long out of high school when he started using prescription medication recreationally.

First, he was offered Percocet, and noted, "The first time is usually free." Then he tried Dilaudid. Both are classified as opioids, or narcotic pain medication, and are highly addictive. Once he felt the high of the drugs, he began doing it more.

He never believed a few pills here and there would be so influential on his life, but after several years of insufflation (snorting) it became a dependency.

"At first, I'd take a few just to take the edge off," Jared told The Compass in an interview last month. "Then it was all weekend with friends."

Some of the people who were a part of Jared's inner circle - the drug users in his group - began using the stronger drug oxycodone, known as "oxy." He was offered it, but initially resisted.

"For two years I held out from using oxy," he explained, but eventually gave in. "I could take 16 (Dilaudid or Percocet), or to get the same effect, take one oxy."

After he began taking oxycodone, it became his drug of choice to snort until 2010, when he picked up his first syringe.

Trying the needle

Jared had a large group of friends, but only a small few were part of the inner circle. Most of them inhaled prescription medications, but a few began to inject them.

"We as snorters looked at injectors as losers, junkies," he explained. "Some people were shooting up, while others were hiding it. It never crossed my mind that we were the same."

He never believed he would pick up a syringe to inject a drug into his blood stream, but he became desperate.

Jared explained if an addict doesn't have drugs for a couple of days, they have to get a fix. And after learning he had friends who were "shooting up," he decided he would give it a try.

"I thought, 'there's got to be something to it,'" he said.

The high was intense, so much so Jared considered it an addict's euphoria.

"I thought, 'I missed out on this for so long,'" he explained. "After injecting, you don't go back."

Eight pills a day. That was the average number he was injecting. At $40 each, it was an easy way to dispose of his income.

An expensive habit

During his addiction, when he wasn't home in Victoria, Jared spent his time working in Edmonton. It was there he was introduced to heroin, a drug derived from morphine.

After switching to heroin, he realized it was so easy to come by in Alberta.

"Heroin is so much cheaper," he stated. "And the high is so much better."

He would take home $2,400 a week on his Friday paycheque. By Wednesday, he'd be calling his mom asking for money.

At one point - when he was stuck for a fix - he sold his PlayStation 3 for a "few pills."

Jared rolled up his sleeves to show his arms. He has almost no scaring, something he attributes to careful practices.

"I've never, ever shared a needle," he asserted. "It makes me sick just to think of that."

But he has witnessed this behaviour - people sharing and reusing needles. He would buy a box of 100 syringes, and always use a new one. He has even left boxes of new, sterile syringes for others when he has seen them share or reuse them.

Getting help

In summer 2012, Jared was at his parents' home in Victoria. He was back on prescription drugs because, he said, heroin is hard to come by in Newfoundland.

After having an argument with his mom, he stormed out to his car. His mom followed.

"'How long have you been shooting dope for,' mom asked me," Jared recalled. "That's when I broke down."

After a visit with his family doctor, he was recommended for the methadone program. It took several months to begin treatment, but Jared said it was well worth it for him. He began taking methadone - a liquid that is consumed - every day.

The most difficult thing he experienced with the program is the lack of local supports. He would have to drive to Paradise to see a doctor every week for a prescription. The prescription could be filled at a local pharmacy.

Without a visit to the doctor, there would be no prescription.

"Without that prescription, without the methadone, addicts still need their fix," Jared stated.

That's why some people don't get clean. He explained these people who have a doctor in the St. John's area and have to travel from out of town - some as far as Stephenville - have a difficult time sticking with the program. These people turn back to drugs.

"There are a lot of flaws with the program," Jared said. "And I thought it was time to speak out."

Melissa.jenkins@tc.tc

 

 

Editor's note: In the April 7 edition of The Compass, Jared describes some significant problems he has witnessed with the methadone program, while health officials with the province also weigh in.

Organizations: The Compass, Jared's, PlayStation 3

Geographic location: Victoria, Edmonton, Alberta Newfoundland Paradise St. John's Stephenville

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Recent comments

  • Ryan T
    April 04, 2014 - 23:05

    Way to go Jared buddy!!! Such a great article to let others know what it's like to go through such hard times!! Not many people would have the courage to come out and talk about this!! Your a very strong individual and I wish you all the best in life.... If only a couple of my friends back home in CBN could be as strong as you are!!! As for Mel your an idiot and someone with your intelligence level should not be allowed to comment....

  • Kara
    April 03, 2014 - 01:04

    Thank you for sharing you story. NO ONE CAN GO BACK AND START OVER BUT ANYONE MAKE A BRAND NEW ENDING ....

  • kara
    April 03, 2014 - 00:56

    Thank you for sharing your story Jared. No one can go back and start over but anyone can make a brand new ending ....Wishing you the very best Jared

  • t
    April 02, 2014 - 09:38

    hey i know how he feels cause i can share almost the same story as he got and i am glad someone finally had the nerve to speak out about everything

  • kathy clarke
    April 01, 2014 - 23:09

    so sad to think that this is happening , we know who is selling these to our kids so why do we let this happen

  • Wendy
    April 01, 2014 - 19:45

    This young man is very lucky to be alive, my heart was racing when I was reading his story. I'm in awe of his strength and honesty I wish him a long happy drug free life. I hope his story gets the recognition it deserves we need to help our young people that have lost their way through an innocent "try". Thanks to The Compass for being up to date and opening our closed minds to real issues in our little communities.

  • mel
    April 01, 2014 - 19:04

    we are all given the same opportunity. I am 22 years old, and I have never taken drugs. I have been offered many times, but have choose not to. I am not about to give sympathy for drug users. Its your own stupid fault for becoming an addict. Most of these drug users are on well-fare and abuse the system that the rest of us hard workers are paying for. If someone wants to get help that's there own prerogative, they can suffer it out and find transportation just like Jared did. I am all about support but, get real people! the government has better things to worry about other than people's dumb life choices.

    • Amy
      April 02, 2014 - 10:53

      There are a lot more drug users and methadone patients that come from middle class and well to do families with working parents than you think. Your comment is one of the most ignorant comments I have ever seen.

    • Yo mama
      April 02, 2014 - 13:12

      Couldn't have said it better myself....

    • Sara
      April 02, 2014 - 14:12

      Oh yeah? The government have more serious things to worry about? Such as??? No one tries drugs hoping to get addicted. Your thinking is very strange and ignorant. I hope that you never have someone going through addiction. Let's not forget what these drugs are - PRESCRIPTION drugs. Meaning they were PRESCRIBED by a doctor. The almighty doctor. It originates from their judgement of who "needs" them. Your comment is lacking education, Mel.

    • tt
      April 02, 2014 - 17:34

      as someone who knows jared and someone who knew him during that time i feel like i need to say something. to think that is limited to the lower class or people on welfare is absolutly laughable. your doctor, a lawyer, the most popular people you went to school with are probably addicts. someone who has never done drugs before only needs that one time to completely lose themselves within that high, then it becomes an addiction. and it is not limited to drugs. i myself have never done drugs but i would never be so insensitive to look at an addict and tell them "it's your own stupid fault". so i say to mel; it is time to get off your high horse and take your blinders off. the only people that need to "get real" as you ignorantly put it, is you and close minded people like you.

    • your ignorant
      April 02, 2014 - 18:02

      Mel I'm guessin you are an only child who's parents gave her anything and everything she cried for and if I could guess they still do and your drivin a brand new car your daddy bought you so dont go talking about hard workers. Your comment was so ignorant and so far from the truth its sad there are people like you out there that are so clueless but your all about support right?? and the fovernment got better things to worry about?!?! if you even had the slightest clue of what your talking about you would know that besides putting the program in place they do nothing really to help addicts. As a matter of fact Newfoundland has one of the poorest addictions and mental health programs and services in the country. Next time ya go on ranting about other peoples problems get some facts or get daddy to buy you some your so ungrateful towards other peoples struggles in life it makes me sick

    • your ignorant
      April 02, 2014 - 18:05

      Mel I'm guessin you are an only child who's parents gave her anything and everything she cried for and if I could guess they still do and your drivin a brand new car your daddy bought you so dont go talking about hard workers. Your comment was so ignorant and so far from the truth its sad there are people like you out there that are so clueless but your all about support right?? and the fovernment got better things to worry about?!?! if you even had the slightest clue of what your talking about you would know that besides putting the program in place they do nothing really to help addicts. As a matter of fact Newfoundland has one of the poorest addictions and mental health programs and services in the country. Next time ya go on ranting about other peoples problems get some facts or get daddy to buy you some your so ungrateful towards other peoples struggles in life it makes me sick

    • Katie
      April 02, 2014 - 19:48

      Jared is my family. And your comment is very offensive. I am 32 and haven't done hard drugs either But I can tell you one thing I would never say or look down on someone who is addicted to drugs. It's a know problem from coast to coast and you should be proud of this young man for standing up and getting help. Ignorant, plain ignorant you are.

    • Holly
      April 02, 2014 - 20:28

      You need to wake up and stop judging others. You have no clue about addictions and the toll it takes on a persons life and the families life. You sit so high and mighty and look down on others. You should be ashamed of yourself for even having the nerve to write it for the world to see. Narrow minded. Wake up.

    • Matt
      April 03, 2014 - 00:22

      What an incredibly myopic, callous and ill-informed opinion you have on what is a complex physiological, psychological and social issue. "Equal opportunity" is, simply, a fiction, and irrelevant to the topic at hand. Jared's confession, for which he deserves a tremendous amount of credit, is aimed at elucidating the pain of drug addiction, both for the individual, their family, their friends, and the pitfalls of methadone treatment in this province. Whether you like it or not, drug addiction in NL is an important issue, hitting home to many families; in fact, I don't think there are many people of my generation (I'm 23) who don't know, personally, of someone suffering with addiction. Nobody wakes up and decides to become an addict; and a poor life choice shouldn't mean interminable suffering and limited support systems. Would you deny someone medication for an STI and claim they're simply "well-fare" abusers, too? Addiction has no regard for social class, despite your crude assumption that drug users bleed our economy. Look at the case of Philip Seymour Hoffman or Cory Monteith: here are two talented, multi-millionaire actors who lost their lives to drugs in recent years. Even if you read the article, Jared is quoted at making $2,400 a week - I don't think he's filing a welfare claim. Anyway, posts like yours stink to high heaven of the repugnant, ignorant, holier-than-thou views that I find repulsive when it comes to this topic. I can see why people turn to drugs when some are so quick to abandon, to judge, another human, equally real, person.

    • Mik
      April 03, 2014 - 10:29

      Mel, If you are who I think you are then you have NO right to be judging people for things they have chosen to do in the past - and you never worked a hard day in your life. You don't have to give your 'sympathy' for drug users, but when you're reading their stories of coming clean of their addiction at least be PROUD of them and support them that they did this - instead of saying pointless shit to make yourself feel and look better. "Most" drug users come from good families, ALL of the drug using people that I know came from great, known, middle class, respectful families - you realize anyone could be 'using drugs' that's around you, and you wouldn't know, right - from your best friend to your mom, uncle, cousin or sister, you'd never know - but hey! At least they got your 'support' LOL. Get real, Mel, and get your facts straight. Your comment it so ignorant it's crazy, you BADLY need a reality check.. Way to go Jared !!

    • Sal
      April 03, 2014 - 10:59

      Actually, I am willing to bet that much more than half of the people around here who became/are using drug are NOT on welfare and do NOT use any supports from the system. Many are from middle-upper class families who work and try really hard to navigate through all the bad things that come with addiction- most had no idea what they were getting themselves into. And as for transportation- most people are finding their own way, or else would not be able to use the methadone program which is only available in st.johns (besides getting your dose at local pharms). However, there should defiantly be more supports around the bay, methadone doctors, etc. There is defiantly enough people out here who need it. Good for you for saying No, but it doesn't make you any better than anyone else. You should probably keep these ignorant comments to yourself- get educated on addiction before you say anything like that again!

    • frankie
      April 06, 2014 - 09:02

      I hope and pray that IF you have children they will say NO as well to Drugs BUT do you know that??? No you don't I have four children and Drugs have not been a part of my many worries BUT it could easily have been . Mel I have only pray it will never come to you or your family BUT be careful with your HOLY THAN THOU attidue and see if there is anything you can say to help this young Man and if not I have more pity for you than anything else because you are cold and heartless. There are so many Drugs out there now you never know when it may knock on your Door . Be careful of stones that you throw and keep your ignorant thoughts to yourself as a matter of fact I don't think they should have posted this for you . I hope Jarad that God will be with you as you defeat this addiction . I am very proud of you !!!!!

    • Cherri Shanhun
      Cherri Shanhun
      April 17, 2014 - 14:14

      You have no idea what you are on about Mel, I find your comments offensive. I am an addict yes, but I work I have never been on welfare and I support myself. You wouldn't even know I was a drug user unless I told you, not all addicts are on welfare or are thieves and liars. I made a choice that I have to live with and I do, unless you have been in my shoes don't judge.

    • Cherri Shanhun
      Cherri Shanhun
      April 17, 2014 - 14:15

      You have no idea what you are on about Mel, I find your comments offensive. I am an addict yes, but I work I have never been on welfare and I support myself. You wouldn't even know I was a drug user unless I told you, not all addicts are on welfare or are thieves and liars. I made a choice that I have to live with and I do, unless you have been in my shoes don't judge.

  • Tara
    April 01, 2014 - 17:02

    You are a very brave young man to come out and share your story espucally with the judgement that these small towns have. I thank you very much for this because this is a wake up call that many of addicts need. I myself being an addict and being on the methadone program myself no exactly we're you are coming from. Again I thank you ..

  • Courtney
    April 01, 2014 - 16:29

    My story is almost 100% as yours.. I moved from Ontario to get away from it all and to start a new life.. I needed to do something and this is the move I made.. I was on the methadone program for almost 2 years and when I got to Newfoundland I started to come off of it.. I know have been off of methadone for 5 months .. And my boyfriend and I have bought a house and a car,. It was a hard road and path to go down... I use to have to travel 3 hours to go see the doctor once a month ... Anyone that as an addiction there is help out there but you have to want help.. Everyone can get help just put your mind too..

  • feel your pain
    April 01, 2014 - 15:44

    You go Jared, I wish you every success..We as human beings can do anything we put our minds to kudos to you hun.

  • Jeannie Hurley
    April 01, 2014 - 14:36

    A very worthwhile topic...a special thank you to Jared for having the courage to come forward and publicize his experience with recreational drugs - may it be enlightening for others. May Jared be an example and source of hope for others struggling with drug addiction. I offer Jared my spiritual support that he continue to win his battle again addiction. Stay well, stay strong! I wish to thank the journalist and the Compass staff for recognizing the need to write first person accounts on such themes. Drug addiction is destroying the fabric of many families - family is the root of society and we all have a responsibility to uphold society.

  • Jeannie Hurley
    April 01, 2014 - 14:30

    A very worthwhile topic...a special thank you to Jared for having the courage to come forward and publicize his experience with recreational drugs - may it be enlightening for others. I wish to thank the journalist and the Compass staff for recognizing the need to write first person accounts on such themes.

  • Shirley
    April 01, 2014 - 13:44

    Good for Jared for sharing his story - I hope it reaches other people who have a drug addiction. I also agree that treatment must be made easier for those who really want to go back to a normal life. My heart goes out to kids who can't handle life and take to drugs instead of their family & friends. Good luck, Jared!

  • Ally Rockwood
    April 01, 2014 - 13:01

    MUCH respect for Jared! I knew him in high school and such a GREAT guy! It takes a very determined man to come clean about this and get the word out to hopefully help others!! He is not the only one out there that has/had this problem, so to come out to the public and tell his story.....VERY proud!

  • Desperate Mother
    April 01, 2014 - 12:59

    I wish this young man would speak to my son. I lost him to needles too. I tried detox but he was not ready. He has become violent and has resorted to stealing now And unfortunately he too is from Victoria My prayers go to him every day For I fear my phone will ring one day to tell me he is on a slab May God watch over you Mr Evely and keep you on the right path...,for yourself and your mother For you only have one mother, hold her close to your heart

  • Jordan
    April 01, 2014 - 12:20

    Methadone is free and like Neil said its replacing one drug for another so the addiction is not conquered. That's our money paying for that drug and should never be allowed. It's an easy and free fix and the drug addicts know it and are laughing!

    • Melissa
      April 01, 2014 - 14:58

      methadone is not free, not for everyone. with these addictions, you need help the methadone helps you while you try to get your head wrapped around getting off pills. yes people do abuse the program, as people abuse other resources. I do agree that "our" tax dollars should not go towards the prescription program to help low income people get off opiods, I mean if they could afford the habit they can afford the help, but with that being said like any medication when used correctly it works!

    • Alice
      April 01, 2014 - 15:01

      Way to go Jared! God speed!

    • Alice
      April 01, 2014 - 15:02

      Way to go Jared! God speed!

    • Alice
      April 01, 2014 - 15:07

      Methadone certainly isn't free!! ...how many kids have paid dearly with their lives.. This shows how ignorant people are to this drug problem in our province..It isn't an easy fix...it's a long and very hard road back to recovery!!

    • Really?
      April 01, 2014 - 16:29

      Actyally, you musten have much education on the program.... Methadone, after a few doses, does nothing to the person but make them feel normal, it does not give a high what so ever After the first maybe week. Then it's jut like drinking water, but it makes them "normal". Also it conteracts other drugs, if one were to try an oxy while on methadone they would not get the effect of the oxy. That's what methadone is used for. That and it has a super long half life, 24 hours. So the user wouldn't have to go get a drink every 4-5 hours as they would on pills. Please educate yourself on this topic. Methadone may give somebody a high who don't do it, or don't do drugs at all. But once the user is put on the program, they build tolerance very quickly and, like I said , they get NO high. (That's why it's legal, and that's why they are allowed to drie after the first few weeks.) do you really think it would be legal to drive on it I it give them a high? OH and I almost forgot! Free???? You REALLY have no idea about it do you.. Methadone is certainly NOT free. It's around 10$ a dose. A day. Roughly 70$ a week. Yes it's much cheaper but certainly not free.

    • patient
      April 01, 2014 - 17:46

      Jordan it's not free far from it it costs $8.50 a day unless your on social assistance and thats a whole other topic. But I am a methadone patient and if you think your paying for methadone patients prescriptions be my guest to come pay my bills for me. The program has its flaws but it does help you get away from the people and places and get your self in a better mental state. I will be finished the program soon after 2 years and havent touched anything or spoken to anyone since. It is up to the individual for this program to work if they want it to work it will. Good on ya Jared for doing this!!

    • Mark
      April 08, 2014 - 18:47

      This is in regards to Jordan's comment... Your an idiot! Methadone is not FREE. I pay 7 dollars a day for my dose. And if your ignorance let's you think that addicts are laughing your even a bigger idiot then I thought! I was hooked on pain meds, not because of the high, but because I hurt myself bad at work! I am a married man with 3 kids and my own business, not everyone who is on the methadone program is a addict! Pain medications are really easy to get hooked on.... So Jordan, get your facts straight or just shut your mouth! MY HATS OFF TO YOU JARED!!!!

  • paulette
    April 01, 2014 - 11:38

    So proud of you Cousin ♡♡♡

  • Theresa
    April 01, 2014 - 11:09

    Great story, this has ruined so many family's, it takes real courage to talk about an addiction, congratulations wishing you the best in the future.

  • Alisha
    April 01, 2014 - 10:59

    I would certainly like to commend this young man for coming forward and speaking up about his struggle. Several families are currently dealing with issues related to addiction which are not your stereotypical people who came from a "tough upbringing" either. These are intelligent individuals that experiment a little bit for fun and then get trapped into the horrors of serious addiction. Congrats on your bravery in coming forward. Your article will certainly help a lot of families in a similar situation. I wish you the best in the future!

  • Theresa Smith
    April 01, 2014 - 10:53

    Jared i am so so proud of you, loves ya lots kiddo. You can do anything you set your mind too.

  • Neil
    April 01, 2014 - 10:15

    The bad thing about the methadone is that you are replacing one drug with another one. People will still have withdrawals if they don't get their methadone at a certain time each day. It's unfortunate that people have to experience this when trying to get clean. The other issue is people on the methadone program getting carries and selling them on the streets while getting friends who are clean to do their urine tests for them. This allows them to continue getting their prescription for methadone and using it as a source of income. The flaws are many in the program and there are few cases of people successfully getting clean from taking part in the program that I know of. Many are on the methadone program for years and years but still experience the withdrawal symptoms. The program maybe works for many but there has to be alternatives.