On Pills and Needles: The Relentless Fight to Save My Son from Opioid Addiction

On Pills and Needles: The Relentless Fight to Save My Son from Opioid Addiction

by Rick Van Warner


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When Rick Van Warner found himself searching abandoned buildings and dangerous streets looking for his missing son, he had no idea that the synthetic, pill-form heroin that had snared his teen was already killing so many. In the years of pain and heartache that followed as he tried to save his son from opioid addiction, Van Warner discovered what the American public is just now becoming aware of: opioids prescribed for even minor pain relief are so addictive that even a few days of use can create dependency.

On Pills and Needles is a memoir that also serves as a wake-up call and crash course in opioid addiction. Through his harrowing personal story, Van Warner exposes the common causes of opioid addiction, effective and ineffective ways it has been treated, and how families can walk alongside loved ones who are dealing with the daily realities of addiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801075353
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/17/2018
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 298,949
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Rick Van Warner is a 30-year veteran of journalism, crisis management, and media relations. Rick was compelled to share his personal story to help other families after recognizing the endemic nature of the current opioid addiction epidemic. A graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Communications, Van Warner began his career as a daily newspaper reporter. Always willing to tackle tough challenges, he also volunteered as a social worker within the New York State youth justice division, where he counseled teens confined to group homes after committing serious crimes. Rick lives in central Florida with his family.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 13

Introduction 15

1 The Vanishing 21

2 Despair aboard the Oxy Express 37

3 Hunches and Heartaches 47

4 Coping with Chaos 61

5 Fighting inside and Out 74

6 Out of Sight, Out of Mind 84

7 The Transporter 91

8 Boomerang of Agony 99

9 Cheating Death 105

10 Rise of the Opioid Kids 108

11 The Abduction 116

12 Pill Mills, Police, and Pain 122

13 Planning the Funeral 132

14 Fleas, Fiends, and Fractures 138

15 Groundhog Day (The Movie) 149

16 Beyond Twelve Steps: The Business of Recovery 160

17 Back to the Brink 171

18 Breakthrough 178

19 Dangerous Demons Return 190

20 Death and Discovery 206

21 Collect Memories, Not Stuff 222

22 The Path to Acceptance 227

23 Battleground Musings 240

24 Twenty-Four and So Much More 249

25 The Flow 257

Notes 265

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On Pills and Needles: The Relentless Fight to Save My Son from Opioid Addiction 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book. Rick gives you his true, inner thoughts and feelings as a father. I help many people who have gone through this and have suggested they read this. It is rare to find a book written from a fathers perspective. Men need this book. Rick opened up and many men and women can relate. It was an easy read, with both facts and a true story.
sesquius More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. So good that I had a difficult putting it down. The story is about Rick Van Warner's son who has become addicted to Opiod's. The stress, trauma and devastation that wracks within families that has a member addicted to pills.  This was one book where I wanted to skip the suspense and head to the back of the book just to find out the ending. Did his son survive or die? But I fought against the urge and read each and every painful page. The amount of time spent on their son to bring him back from the brink was emotionally draining. But, upon reading it, I've become more aware of the widespread problem. I admit, I wasn't aware. I knew about it, but not on how it affects the family base. The one thing that I agree on, based on another reviewer, is that for this to be out by a Christian publisher, I didn't realize I was reading a Christian-based book. This would have done just as well within a non-Christian publisher rather than under the Christian genre. But perhaps, that was the only way that it would be read by those who are averse to reading anything outside of Christian based publications. I did appreciate the mixture of facts based upon his own journey with his son. The beginnings of the Opioid crisis and how it in turn came to affect the rest of the nation.  In the end, I enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend reading it.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Elisabeth_M More than 1 year ago
At a time when numerous articles are being written about Big Pharma and the opioid crisis in our country, one book, written by a business executive, author, father, husband, son, provides readers with a personal account of drug addiction’s darkest corners and seemingly unbearable effects on a loving, faith based ambitious family. Through sharing raw emotion via a fact-based account of his opioid addicted son, Mr. Van Warner provides a captivating read — an experience readers might feel they are imposing on by being invited through text into one family’s harrowing journey. A must read which will hopefully save many precious lives including the life of Mr. Van Warner’s son.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is so much more than the gut wrenching story of a family’s struggle with a drug addicted son. It’s a history of the opioid crisis, something everyone should be aware of. And, above all, it’s the story of the most important rule of parenting-forgiving yourself and your loved ones, flaws and all, so that you can offer unconditional love and acceptance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a brutally honest account of a father’s plea to a desperate son in his descent into a hell of drug addiction. This searing narrative of abiding love amid tales of pain, anger, and despair is an inspiration for all who have known the heartbreak of children stumbling down destructive paths.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When OxyContin and its relatives were first introduced to my oncology practice in the late 1990s, everyone was excited by the claims of reduced-addiction risk, long duration of action, and morphine-like potency. It was only years later that we realized the information provided by the pharmaceutical reps was misleading and that this drug was highly addictive. On Pills and Needles shows how one family (and by extension, society) was affected by Big Pharma greed and ignorance. This is an excellent read, and I highly recommend it to everyone, not just those affected by the ongoing opioid epidemic.