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Addiction is a shrewd devil. Not everyone suffering from addiction fits the stereotype of an addict, in fact, many who suffer from addiction are often known as functional addicts, meaning they can still go to their jobs and get their responsibilities taken care of until they can’t. 

in first explaining addiction to the reader, CNN states that “what addicts have in common, according to experts, is a disease that has more to do with their brains than the substances they use. About 85% of people can take a pain pill, for example, and never crave it again.” But many aren’t that lucky, and in covering functional addiction, it showed the opposite of another story they covered, about addicts who wound up on skid row.

With one functional addict, his path began with a Percocet when he was fifteen. His mother had them as she was recovering from surgery. Like many once they get hooked to the substance that eventually brings about their downfall, he thought, “I want to feel like this for the rest of my life. It was the perfect drug for me.”He’s been a functional addict now for eleven years, with his drug of choice being opioids, and his habit runs from $350 to $600 a week.

“Todd,” the pseudonym CNN gave him, says he’s “all smiles and happiness” at work, but he often has to come up with a lot of lies to cover up his absences from work, and other misadventures he’s gotten into. He also confesses that in a six-year period, seven people close to him have died, including his girlfriend, who overdosed.

And as one doctor told CNN, it doesn’t take much of a leap to go from being a functional addict to a completely dysfunctional one. As CNN continues, “Tolerances and doses often change. As an addictive disease progresses, it is also influenced by life events and stressors. What happens if Todd loses his job someday or can’t afford his preferred pills?” At this stage of the game, if Todd can get help, it could head off what could be a lot of trouble down the road.

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