Living and thriving after 15 years of crippling opioid addiction

Jul 1, 2019 | W. Michael Hooten, M.D. | @wmichaelhootenmd


Sheryl and Ken Start

Originally posted  via Mayo Clinic News Center

Ken Start is an optimistic, energetic husband, father and grandfather with a job and family he loves. It's a life Ken's fought for, but one he almost sacrificed to opioid addiction. For 15 years, Ken was addicted to prescription pain medication, an addiction that was finally broken with the help of Mayo Clinic's Pain Rehabilitation Program and Addiction Services.


Not long ago, Ken Start began a speech to a roomful of physicians by saying, "I am your worst nightmare, the guy you do not want in your waiting room."

Ken said the words jokingly, but behind the remark was a painful truth. For 15 years, Ken struggled against a crippling opioid addiction that developed after he received prescription pain relievers for spinal injuries from a car accident. Through the years, Ken lied to and manipulated his family, friends and physicians to feed his addiction.

But in 2004, Ken's life changed course when he arrived at Mayo Clinic. Distraught and near suicidal, Ken's trip to Mayo was a last-ditch effort to save himself and the life he'd built with his family. At Mayo Clinic, Ken met W. Michael Hooten, M.D., in Pain Medicine. "The morning Dr. Hooten walked in, that's the day my life changed," Ken said.

Continue reading via the Mayo Clinic News Center

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