Opioid addiction emerges among new mothers, data shows

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) – When expectant mother Kari Zink was about to give birth to her second child, what she wasn’t expecting was that the pills she was prescribed to relieve her pain, would almost ruin her life.

Zink gave birth to her second son via cesarean section and to manage her discomfort she was given opioids.

“It just hurts. It hurts to move, it hurts to turn, it hurts to lift your legs, I mean it’s painful,” she explained.

Dr. James W. Gorman, a partner with Parkhill Clinic, described having a C-section as major surgery.

“A cesarean section involves not only disrupting the skin and separating the muscles, but also manipulating the internal organs and putting them all back together,” he added.

The procedure is complex and Dr. Gorman said he commonly prescribes his patients some form of pain relief.

“I want them to feel good enough to be engaged with the baby, but at the same time, if they take too much of it or if they happen to become dependent on it, it can ruin their life,” he continued.

That’s what almost happened to Zink.

Her prescription almost took over her life.

Zink attributes her loss of control of the drugs, to the loss of her brother. The day after she gave birth, her brother was driving while high on pills and was killed in a crash.

“He fell asleep at the wheel because he had so much [drugs] in his system,” Zink said.

This caused Zink to use the opioids to numb her physical and mental pain.

“I remember going through the funeral, and all of that, and just not being in the right frame of mind at all and I went through that bottle pretty quick,” she said.

The mourning mother called her doctor and asked for a refill, not realizing she had become reliant on the medicine.

“In my head, I was telling me you need these, you need these, you need these,” she continued.

Dr. Gorman said Zink is not the first woman, with no history of drug use, to fall victim to the drugs they were prescribed after giving birth.

He said, “data shows that about one out of every 300 women who have not taken prescription narcotics before will become addicted with their very first prescription.”

Once Zink realized the pills were consuming her, she acted.

“I filled my prescription, I took maybe one or two and said I don’t need these and so I flushed them,” she added.

In a matter of two weeks, Zink almost became completely addicted to the pills. Now, years later, Zink refuses to take any mind-altering drugs.

“My children deserved better, my husband deserved better, my brother deserved better,” said Zink.

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