Drug addiction in Wisconsin hits close to home - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Drug addiction in Wisconsin hits close to home

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(WKOW) -- Every year, thousands of people in Wisconsin get hooked on drugs and the stereotype of what those people look like doesn't always fit.

Fourteen years ago Nick Liegel, 43, had back problems and was prescribed pain pills. From there, it was a downward spiral. The Spring Green resident realized he had an issue and attempted to fix it.

"I stayed clean for about nine months and then relapsed in March of 2014 and went back to a different doctor who didn't know my story and problems with addiction and she prescribed more pain pills," he said. 

When the doctors caught on and wouldn't prescribe more pills, Liegel turned to heroin. 

It was then, things grew worse than ever before. He lost several jobs, thousands of dollars and eventually hurt the people he loved most, his family.

"I lied, cheated and stole from them to get what I wanted," said Liegel.

That's the painful reality for many addicts in our area. Something the St. Vincent de Paul Community Activated Recovery Enhancement (CARE) Outpatient Addiction Program sees firsthand every day.

"What I thought of a drug addict was not very pleasant. It was like someone in the streets, strangely hair and not a good person and not very smart," said CARE Founder and Director Joan Mack. 

She quickly learned that wasn't the case. The program treats many different people in all walks of life including nurses, doctors, lawyers, officers and even teachers.

"If you would have known me 20 years ago there was never no crime in my life. I had a good paying job. I was a good person, was volunteering," said Liegel.

He said he doesn't know how things got so bad, but he's thankful for the help he is receiving from the CARE program. Joan and her team provide counseling and help to coordinate the use of a non-addictive medically assisted treatment medication called Vivitrol.

"There's definitely a better way of living," said Liegel. "There's help out there. There's good people in recovery."

He wanted to share his story to help others. He said if you have a problem you shouldn't be embarrassed to seek help.

Nick Liegel is more than six months sober. 

If you or someone you know needs help overcoming a drug problem there are many resources available.

-Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

-St. Vincent de Paul CARE Outpatient Addiction Program: 608-644-0504 ext. 12

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