PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — When Brandon Spencer was asked a cliché question: "What was rock bottom?" He didn't give an expected answer.
Spencer said "rock bottom" doesn't exist. It's deeper than that.
"There’s just a craving beyond my physical control and I would go to any lengths necessary to appease that craving," said Spencer.
After spending all of his twenties and half of his thirties using cocaine and opioids, he got help shortly after overdosing on fentanyl at his dad's house.
"For the first time in my life, I was scared to die," he said.
A former addict approached Spencer with their own story of recovery. It gave him hope and Spencer found the inspiration to turn his life around.
Spencer says his addiction is rooted in childhood trauma he never dealt with. Instead, he turned to alcohol and marijuana at a young age. By 18, he'd move on to cocaine and by 22, he was using opioids on a regular basis.
His wife kicked him out, his mother cut him off, and he was kept away from his kids.
"My mother, I would rob her jewelry cabinet every chance I got, my kids, I would even take from their piggy banks. Whatever I needed to do in order to get the funds for me to get loaded, all bets were off," explained Spencer who now works as an outreach coordinator for Rockland Treatment Center in Pasco County, Florida.
Spencer takes full responsibility for his own addiction saying, "Nobody put a gun to my head and made me put that stuff in my body," but he admits there were outside issues making his addiction worse such as the easy access to drugs.
"Had it not been so easy, had the doctors not just been writing those scripts, so freely, had there been checks and balances, had there not been people taking advantage of people’s disabilities as a opportunity to line their pockets, we may be in a better position today," said Spencer.
The state of Florida is taking Walgreens to court over its role in the opioid crisis. The point of the trial is to hold Walgreens "accountable for its role in helping create and fuel the deadly opioid crisis devastating Florida families and draining taxpayer-funded resources," said FL Attorney General Ashley Moody.
The trial began on April 5 with jury selection.
For some, it's too late, but for anyone else out there in the throes of addiction, Brandon Spencer's message is clear: "Recovery is possible. There is hope. I’m living proof of it."
Spencer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727-220-2422- x112.