I first met Thomas Foye in the Hampshire County House of Correction where he was serving time for larceny. The veteran Ludlow police detective, with more than 20 years on the force, was arrested stealing drugs from his department’s evidence room. Foye had become addicted to opioids after being prescribed oxycodone for pain after undergoing hip surgery. But he was never told about the drug's highly addictive properties and soon found himself hooked. At one point in his life, he was busting drug addicts. Then, he became one.

 Foye was finally arrested by state police in the act of stealing drugs from the evidence room but, rather than feeling shame, Foye said he felt relief knowing that he would be forced to deal with his addiction.

Two years after I first met Foye, I went back to see how he was doing. He said he was able to follow through on his plans to complete a course certifying him as a drug counselor. He now works two jobs and both involve helping drug addicts recover.

In the intervening years, Foye had to have his other hip operated on, but he told the doctor about his addiction to painkillers. His doctor agreed to prescribe for him non-narcotic arthritis medication to get him through the pain. This time, however, he received written and verbal warnings about the dangers of opioid based painkillers — something he says that wasn’t available to him the first time around.

Although Foye can never return to his chosen profession, he says his story can help many others understand how difficult recovery is but that if he could do it so can they. That has become his new mission: to use his own life story to help others avoid the same fate.