Maine’s failing addiction

Rodney and Heather Auger used to wake up each day knowing they’d need drugs to get through all 24 hours.

First they relied on pain medications prescribed by doctors, hers for a series of health issues that began at age 16, his for a back injury from a work accident.

When their doctors abruptly stopped those prescriptions, the couple turned to heroin, they said. They spent seven years on the streets, living in garages and in their car, their days consumed by a desperate search for illicit drugs that would stave off the misery of withdrawal.

But today, they have a tidy apartment in Old Orchard Beach with an almost-view of the ocean. Now, they begin each morning by taking buprenorphine, knowing the medication will ease the cravings for opioids that dominated the better part of their seven-year marriage. The medication does not provide a high.