att Ganem was first exposed to the prescription painkiller OxyContin when he was 16.

He was at a house party in the Boston area — the kind where kids traditionally first experiment with drinking or marijuana. Ganem didn’t know much about OxyContin, but he gave it a try.

That first pill was the beginning of a five-year struggle with opioid addiction.


Ganem’s story is not uncommon. The United States is in the throes of a nationwide opioid epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 165,000 Americans died of prescription opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2014.

Part of the reason so many users struggle to get clean is that opioid withdrawal can be physically excruciating.

In this video, STAT explores exactly how opioids affect the human body — and why addiction can be so difficult to kick. Ganem, now 31, learned firsthand.

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  • This article, like many others fails to distinguish the process of Addiction as one that occurs primarily within the human brain.My experience with Oxycontin as a pain reliever ( d/t chronic back pain) for over 8 years resulted in no addiction / physical dependence, nor withdrawal symptoms once I decided to stop the Oxycontin.In addition, Addiction is a Learned behavior.

    • WOW ! You Sir are AMAZING !! Please tell me after your passing you are leaving your entire body to science ? We need to learn all we can from this frickin modern day superhero ….. I have a feeling we are going to learn that you sir, have Tigers Blood flowing through you, again you ARE an inspiration to all of us that have struggled with this what now I can plainly see if just all state of the mind, or mind over matter as they say !! 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 In you we pray 😶

  • This interview is great, especially the visuals. Do you have a video that doesn’t bleeps out the swears? Would be a great addition to our school drug unit.

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