Kristina's story as an addiction treatment nurse: video

Transcript - Kristina's story

Transcript - Kristina's story

A woman alone on a bridge.

My name is Kristina St. Pierre, I'm a registered practical nurse that specializes in addiction treatment.

She's in slow motion.

I've always wanted to be a nurse, since I was a little girl.

People are reflected on a glass building.

As I was growing up in my young teenage years, I had a very close friend who suffered from opioid addiction and I was able to really watch the devastating effects that that had both on him physically, mentally and on his family.

She walks on a street.

I wanted to ensure that whatever I did in my career, everybody who suffered from the same things that he suffered from would have access to addiction treatment.

Now inside, she turns to us.

This is absolutely personal to me.

Her gaze is fixed.

A title appears: Kristina's Story.

Outside, kids congregate near steps as they play with two wheeled scooters.

I don't think that young people have a complete understanding of the risks of prescription opioid abuse today.

A boy gapes at another.

I'm seeing this becoming an issue in high school students.

A car drives by.

It's something that young adults do to get high, it's something that young adults do recreationally. This is now a generational norm, this is a drug of choice.

A boy spins his scooter.

The types of drugs that we're seeing abused now are most commonly prescription opiates, benzodiazepines and stimulants.

In an office.

People that are abusing prescription opiates think they're safe because they come from a physician, that prescription wasn't intended for them. Even if it's something that's prescribed to them and now they're abusing it, it's still not any safer because they're not following those recommended dosage, it's just as dangerous as any other street drug.

She consults with a young man.

When you become dependent on opiates, you need it because you have debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

A woman sits alone.

Think of having an extreme flu times ten with diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, shakiness, sweatiness…

Empty chairs.

…eating and sleeping and personal hygiene measures are no longer priorities.

We focus on a young woman.

Imagine you have an 18 year old daughter, she is severely addicted to a prescription opiate, she's going to be angry, she's going to upset, she's going to be sick.

The woman stands by a window.

People who are suffering the effects of opiate addiction will often become reclusive. They no longer want to engage in some of the activities that they may have once enjoyed, they become a person that you're really no longer familiar with.

The ultimate risk of abusing prescription opiates is overdose.

She turns her head away.

They could be alone and take extra because they're not getting the same effects and go to sleep and not wake up. So the effects can be rapid and the effects can be devastating.

Tree branches are reflected in a window.

Counselling helps people who are suffering from an addiction understand how to cope with the symptoms and the effects that they're feeling as a result of the addiction.

She talks to a young man.

They really have a chance to heal, mentally and physically.

At a reception desk.

Combining as many healthy resources into the treatment becomes very important.

In an examination room.

Every person will respond differently to an addiction and will respond differently to treatments.

Taking a girl's blood pressure.

You need to consider what if that was my daughter, what if that was my son.

A young boy on a scooter.

Have these conversations with your kids, don't be afraid. These kinds of conversations need to be normal. What are drugs, how are they abused and what are the outcomes, what are the risks, what can happen?

A truck drives by.

The more society is able to recognize that addiction is a normal disease, the easier it'll be for people to access treatment.

Counselors meet.

It needs to be treated in the same way as cancer, diabetes or any other chronic illness because that's what it is.

A female counselor nods her head.

To watch people come in for the very first day and be struggling, be sick, be upset, be in crisis and then, shortly thereafter... they're in a place in their lives and in their careers and with their families that they thought they'd never be in...

They shake hands.

I love it.

A saying is up on a wall.

A message that I would like anyone suffering with an addiction to know, is to not be afraid... there are options out there... and there's really good people out there to help you. Don't be afraid, this is not something to be ashamed of. We can help support you.

Alone on a bridge, she takes her hands off the handrail and walks away.

Narrator: Get the facts and talk with your kids about prescription drug abuse.


A message from the Government of Canada.

With thanks to:
Canadian Addiction Treatment Centres
Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres

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