This Employee shares her son’s opioid journey
Betsy Idol was a good mom. Her son, Cameron, was a good boy. They went to church. He was a Boy Scout. He learned the Bible. He was on the wrestling team. But he also fell in with the wrong crowd. And experimented with drugs. And struggled with his parents’ separation. Cameron moved out of the house when he turned 18 and Betsy didn’t know where he was living.
Betsy was very happy that he stayed in high school and graduated. She wasn’t sure he was ready to go on to college that fall, but she was sure that getting Cameron out of Winston-Salem and away from some bad influences was a good thing. So off he went to UNC Charlotte that August. It was 2009.
An accident spins out of control
College didn’t work out the first time around but things seemed to be getting back on track – he was doing well at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington. That’s when disaster struck. Cameron was hit by a car while biking. He needed surgery. He moved home to recuperate. He was prescribed opioids. He got hooked. He progressed to heroin, which was cheaper, easier to get, and easier to take than Oxycodon.
Cameron received an insurance settlement as a result of the accident and started spending a lot of money, much of it on his drug habit. Betsy was shocked when she discovered her son had become an IV drug user. He spent the next four years in and out of school. In and out of rehab and treatment programs. In and out of his parents’ lives. In and out of jail and on probation. He started stealing from his parents and others when the insurance money ran out.
Hitting Rock Bottom
Finally, in May of 2014, Cameron decided he was ready to get help. Betsy put him on a plane to California to the treatment center he’d found. Still, his path was not a straight line. But he’s been clean for two years now. Betsy still worries. “You never know when you’ll get a phone call.” That phone call a parent never wants to get.
Betsy appreciates the positive approach Blue Cross NC is taking to address the opioid epidemic and believes in the power of educating people about addiction. Many in our community are facing these challenges and it’s important for people to know they are not alone.
After everything they have been through, Betsy says it’s tough when she remembers, “This is the little boy I held in my arms.” Betsy has accepted that Cameron’s life and his journey are his to shape and live. She can’t fix it or do it for him. “We kill people with our love when we shield them from the consequences of their actions. We take away their dignity when we try to control them.”
“It’s hard for a mother not to step in and try to give direction.” But that’s what she has learned she must do. She hopes sharing her story will help others understand addiction, and perhaps their own or a loved-one’s journey with it, a little better.