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Former drug addict describes network of AZ moms popping pills

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

It's the nation's fastest growing drug problem and it could be happening right next door.

The face of the nation's drug addict is changing. Many moms are popping pills from Percocet to Xanax just to get through the day.

It's a casual mentality toward a dangerous way of life. Arizona has one of the highest death rates in the country from prescription drug overdoses.

"During the two years, I was what you would say was a functioning drug addict. It was something I did from morning until night," said "Lori" a former drug addict CBS 5 News spoke with who wanted to remain anonymous.

For a long time, she was someone who appeared to have it all together.

She owned a successful business in Scottsdale, had a lot of friends, a beautiful home and a loving family. Then the economy took a turn and so did the 40-year-old mom's life.

"It started with some financial stress and my doctor put me on Xanax prescription as well as some anti-depressants for some anxiety," she said.

The drugs had an immediate effect, and because it worked, she wanted more.

"The more that I took, the less it worked, so I had to up it," she said.

Soon she supplemented her doctor's prescription.

"I could get a pill from anyone," she said.

She became a part of a network of medicated moms, toting powerful opioids and anti-depressants to stimulants that temporarily transform them into high-energy "supermoms."

"You would be surprised to know that it is in more households than you would ever believe ... so many housewives," she said.

They're Valley housewives who can also easily get a prescription.

"They know which doctors prescribe. They all go to the same ones," she said.

She eventually ordered Xanax and pain pills online, visited random pain clinics and made frequent trips to Mexico.

"I literally would go around to pharmacy to pharmacy and stock up on it," she said.

Dr. Michael Yasinski said it's shocking how many affluent middle-aged women are getting hooked on prescription drugs.

"It's a rampant drug movement out there where it's mom and grandmothers and all sorts of people in that community are using," Yasinski said.

According to the CDC, sales of prescription pain killers have quadrupled in recent years and one in eight Americans are reportedly taking Xanax.

For Lori, her habit got incredibly expensive, saying she was paying $2,000 to $3,000 a week. But it ultimately cost her so much more.

"Things were starting to fail. My business was failing, my friendships were failing, my marriage was failing and it was going downhill pretty quick," she said.

One night she hit rock bottom.

"The night I decided to quit, I thought my family was going to bury me. I thought it was to the point where I wasn't going to live," she said.

She's been clean for two years now and said getting there is the hardest thing she's ever done.

Yasinski said you can run from your feelings, but you can't hide. Ultimately emotions are meant to be felt, dealt with and processed in order to move on and function normally again.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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