Diary of a painkiller addict
By Cathryn Kemp
One of the biggest medical scandals of our time is the over-prescription of strong pain relief. This heart-rending memoir lifts the lid on the issue, showing the price one woman paid and her fight to recover.
WINNER OF THE BIG RED READ PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION IN 2013.
Cathryn Kemp was a successful travel journalist who was struck down by a life-threatening illness, pancreatitis. After four years of operations and mis-diagnoses she left hospital with a repeat prescription for fentanyl, a painkiller 100 times stronger than heroin. Within two years she was taking more than ten times the NHS maximum, all on prescription. Her family struggled to understand; her boyfriend left her, she hit rock bottom. Discovering she had only six months to live if she didn't give up the drugs she sold everything she owned and checked into rehab. In the addiction treatment centre she was told that she was unlikely to recover from 'the highest level of opiate-abuse in the clinic's history'. To everyone's amazement, she proved them wrong.
This is an extraordinarily poignant, vivid and honest memoir. Based on the twenty-four diaries that the author kept during this period, we travel with Cathryn through her hospital agony, descend with her into the hell of addiction and cheer her as she pulls herself out and upwards. It is a love story, a horror story, a survival story, and one that shows only too clearly the very real dangers of the over-prescription of painkillers and tranquillisers.
There is also a resource section for sufferers and their loved ones.
Cathryn Kemp is a journalist and travel writer. She was a journalist for The People, News of the World, The Sunday Mirror and the Mirror for seven years before falling ill practically overnight in 2004. She has written several Lonely Planet books, including Romania and Moldov; Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; Eastern Europe and Europe on a Shoestring.
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- Publication date:
06 Sep 2012
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Seeringly honest and courageous, an absolutely brilliantly written book about the descent into painkiller addiction that can so easily occur when someone is dealing with unbearable physical and emotional pain. This book should be read by every doctor and mental health practitioner for its unwavering insights into the psychology of addiction. A brave, heartfelt and extraordinary book — Corinne Sweet, author of Overcoming Addiction, psychologist and broadcaster
A brilliantly written book . . . It's not only an inspirational addiction recovery story but also a deeply moving book about recovering from loss on many levels - health, love, independence, career, dignity, trust, optimism . . . Cathryn's story gripped me at gut level from page one — Gael Lindenfield
Compelling and highly topical — Bookseller
Frankly written, Kemp's courageous memior will help those dealing with an addict, or with addiction itself. — Big Issue (North)