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Recovery story: At 16, she developed an opioid addiction after a skull injury

"Being an addict, you just become very shameful and you know what you’re doing is wrong and you just can’t stop," Grace McGhee said.

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — Grace McGhee grew up studious and responsible. "I always maintained really good grades; I was always on really good with teachers. I had a lot of friends," McGhee said. 

But at 16 years old, she had a skull injury and needed reconstructive surgery.

"I went home with a lot of painkillers," McGhee said.

Only five days later, she said she began to experiment with her dosage. 

"It ended up becoming more of an, 'okay, if I don't take them for three days, I have double the amount I can take here and then I can feel better,'" McGhee explained.

She told 10 Tampa Bay she was never warned by the doctor who prescribed the pills of their dangerous addictive nature. 

"I would've never thought that experimenting as a 16-year-old with things that were prescribed by a doctor would have escalated into nearly dying and going to two rehabs before I'm 20," McGhee said.

Unfortunately, her story with opioids is common.

Angelique Hof-Arce, is the founder of 'Da Vinci Recovery' a non-profit sober living facility, who said, "A lot of people start out with the physical ailment and now they have a terminal disease called addiction."

While Hof-Arce said everyone "comes to their addictions pretty honestly and naively," it's particularly true for people addicted to opioids, who were often prescribed those pills by a "trusted medical professional." 

Hof-Arce, who is also a recovering alcoholic, urges anyone struggling with addiction to seek help.

"It's not an impossible road, there is hope," Hof-Arce said. "I'm living proof of that." 

Grace McGhee is also living proof of that. When 10 Tampa Bay spoke with her, she was 100 days sober. While she once considered a career in art, she said she now wants to work to help other recovering addicts. 

"There's almost always help and that help just needs to become a less stigmatized and a more available thing," McGhee said. 

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