WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA9) -- Only on 9, we bring you one family's struggle to find affordable care for their heroin-addicted son, and insurance coverage to pay for his treatment.
Lukas Miller is 24 years old, has a full-time job and didn't steal from his family or friends to fund his drug habit, unlike many addicts.
He's now battling both his addiction and his insurance company.
To relax, Lukas plays guitar. It's one of his favorite possessions.But in the suffocating existence that is addiction, he sold it to a pawn shop to ensure his next fix.
"The second you wake up 'til the second you go to bed at night, that's all you're worried about," said Lukas.
His addiction to painkillers, and later to heroin, has ravaged every aspect of his life.
"You're not worried about who you screw over, you're not worried about whose feelings you hurt, you're not worried about who might die because of this, as long as I get my drug. I'll be alright. And the next day, you wake back up and it starts all over again," he told us.
After more than 400 of those days, he'd had enough. Lukas wanted help.
"I've never been more desperate in my life," said Lukas.
Ironically, the family's insurance company compounded the misery.
"They really need to make sure that the addicts that are asking for help get the help when they need it, when they want it. Because their mind could change in a flat second," said Carin Miller, Lukas' Mother.
Even -after- their insurance company referred them to a specific facility, Lukas was denied the chance for treatment.
"When my mother called the insurance company and everything was ready, they said well, you can't go there. We have to send you somewhere cheaper," recalled Lukas.
By then, the family had waited at intake for nearly eight hours.
Remember Carin, "I begged and pleaded. I said, 'My son is sick.' Please!"
It was long enough for Lukas to go into withdrawal and need to be hospitalized. He's home now, but his family's still struggling.
"Every day, I have to go up and wonder if he's relapsed and make sure he's breathing when I go into his room, in the morning. And it breaks my heart,' said Carin, tears rolling down her face.
Remarkably, Lukas was able to get back his prized guitar and slowly, his self-confidence.
"He's a good man," Carin told us. "In an addict's body. I love him with all my heart."
Opiate blockers have helped him stay clean; most recently a monthly injection of a drug called Vivitrol. The Millers say a single shot costs $1,200, and it's not covered by the family's insurance.
"I just say my prayers, almost hourly, save my son. Please," said Carin.
Written by Andrea McCarren, WUSA9
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