Virginia Tech News:
ROANOKE, Va., Oct. 6, 2011 – C.W. started getting high when he was only 13. “I started off sniffing gasoline out of a lawnmower, then moved on to beer, wine, and marijuana,” he said. Soon he was snorting cocaine, taking speed, and basing major life decisions — dropping out of high school, leaving the military, quitting a stable job, even abandoning his family — on his need to get high. He eventually found himself dodging drug dealers who were threatening to kill him over his mounting debt.
It was a near-fatal accident that ended up saving C.W.’s life. He had been celebrating payday in customary fashion — with alcohol and drugs — when he borrowed a friend’s car, veered off the road, slammed headfirst into a tree, and broke his neck. “And that,” he said, “was the beginning of my new life.”
C.W. checked himself into the psychiatric ward of a local Veterans Affairs hospital, then entered rehab. He has not touched drugs or alcohol for the past 15 months.
How did C.W. beat his addiction, and how has he been able to sustain his recovery? Those are the central questions driving the National Quit & Recovery Registry, launched last week by the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.
The National Quit & Recovery Registry collects the experiences of those in recovery through web-based sharing — also known as crowdsourcing — to enhance scientists’ understanding of addiction, whether to tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or harmful behaviors, such as overeating, excessive sexual activity, and gambling. Led by Warren Bickel, director of the Advanced Recovery Research Center of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, the registry taps the insights and experiences of people who quit a tobacco habit at least a year ago or have been in recovery from an addiction for one year or longer.
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