Most people who want to get help with opioid use disorder don’t get advice from their doctors; instead, they’re left trying to navigate a complicated and loosely regulated network of possibilities on their own. And in the absence of any real structure for finding treatment options, some people are driven to the extreme.
Jean Holbrook is a psychiatric nurse from Lexington, Massachusetts, who’s been trying to help her 31-year-old daughter Jennifer fight an opioid addiction for more than a decade. Jennifer has been through treatment dozens of times, but she’s always relapsed afterward. So for now, the family decided it’s best for Jennifer to live at home while Jean oversees her care, including administering the opioid treatment medication Suboxone.
“I’m not an angry person, but this makes me outraged — why should I have to do this in my own house?” Jean said on our recent visit to the family’s home. “But then it became like, look: Just do what works.”
Kathleen Caulderwood is a video producer for VICE News.