Martin “Marty” McLean | Director of Community Relations and Outreach
Meet Marty… “The Accidental Addict”
The word addict usually has a negative connotation. And it is easy to blame addicts for bringing it on themselves, but no one wants to become addicted. Marty has completely ‘come out of the pill bottle’ and is using his experience to help others overcome their addiction and to help fight the growing opioid crisis. Marty talks about what led to the lightbulb that sparked the invention of tad™ ("Take As Directed").
How did it all begin? In high school, I was involved in a car accident that resulted in a hip replacement years later. After my surgery in July 2007, I had a tough time healing. Initially, I took less medication than prescribed because the painkillers made me nauseous, itchy, and tired. I have always had a high tolerance for medication, so soon I started taking more than prescribed. Before I knew it I had become addicted to painkillers… I was so ashamed.
When did you know you were addicted? As I began running out of my medication, I started trying to get my prescriptions ahead of time. Sometimes I would say that I was in too much pain, while other times I would lie and say the maid threw out my medication or they had been stolen from my car.
How did it affect your everyday life? On painkillers, I was still able to work - they don’t smell like alcohol does. I always had a bottle of pills in the car and about 5 in my pocket, just in case. Addiction not only affected me, but my loved ones too. I was willing to give up my family, finances, and job to obtain more prescription painkillers.
What happened when you tried detoxing? I really tried to quit taking them all together, only to start again. Like most addicts, I knew I needed to quit. I would set dates and prepare for the dreaded withdrawals. Detoxing from opiates is like getting tortured. It is like having panic attacks, coupled with the flu for a week. I was exhausted but couldn’t sleep. I was hungry but so nauseous I couldn’t eat.
How long before you realized you needed help? Denial is so strong when you’re addicted to drugs. Drugs affect your perception - that’s their job. I wasn’t in my right mind when I needed it the most. Honestly, I probably needed help within 2 months. But how long before I was willing to admit I needed help? I would say somewhere in between 4 to 5 months. My addiction escalated quickly because once I became addicted to one type of drug, I was an addict for all types of controlled substances and even alcohol.
What motivated you to get sober? To an addict, pills are more valuable than money. Addicts will often do as many drugs as they can afford until they run out of money or a legal way to obtain drugs. Eventually, I forged prescriptions and got caught. Facing a jail sentence finally caught my attention and helped get me sober. I was also tired of the lying. Many people got mad at me and resented me. I cannot blame them at all. Fact is, I hated myself. I would lie about being sober to people who cared about getting me better and began to believe the lies myself, even when I began to use again. That said, I am proud to say that I have been sober since July 19, 2011.
Where did the idea of tad™ come from? Pill bottles have a child-proof lid, but what about adults? What about people who think two pills are better than one? We live in a world where we think more is better. That’s not always the case and with regards to medicine that’s the first step towards addiction. The idea for tad™ was really simple - could we invent a technology that would help people take their medicine as directed to prevent misuse, abuse, and addiction? We took that idea and it became the basis of the company today called Intent Solutions and our premier product called tad™. I wish I would’ve had this idea before I was addicted. However, if there is any redemption in my story it’s that I teamed up with a great group of entrepreneurs-- Van Crisco, Ashley Hancock, Lou Malice and Sam Zamarripa-- and today we have a company that might be able to prevent the next “accidental addict.”
Is there anything else you would like to say? Yes: please feel free to share my story. We all have friends and family who are exposed to addiction everyday, everywhere regardless of their age, professions, race or gender. My story is one of thousands, and by sharing it I hope to inspire those who are currently fighting the disease of addiction and to help others avoid having to experience it.
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