‘A Dark Rabbit Hole’: A Badge Wasn’t Any Defense Against Opioid Addiction

Mike Haugen’s type of Iowa Condition Patrolmen in the year 2006. Condition of Iowa

Haugen stated he didn’t need to physician-shop rather than resorted to illegal drugs like heroin.

“Ninety-nine percent of my prescriptions originated from one clinic,” he stated. “I’d get in touch with after i ran out and they’d produce a script. Among the doctors would sign off onto it.Inches

Then in 2015, Haugen got that sergeant’s promotion, delivering him from a cruiser and in to the Mason City headquarters. Together with his illness worsening, he was grateful to become near your bathroom. However the move also put him nearer to temptation: Certainly one of his new responsibilities was logging evidence in to the windowless, brick-walled evidence room.

“I don’t remember the number of pills I required the very first time,Inches Haugen stated. “I don’t remember things i did or the way i acted before my co-workers. I simply realize that after i got home, I felt like needed the pills terrible.Inches


Several weeks later, an investigator in the Iowa Division of Criminal Analysis asked Haugen after hearing he was taking plenty of prescription painkillers.

Haugen, who had been put on administrative leave, declined to state the way the investigator discovered. But he did state that the investigator wasn’t conscious that he’d been stealing pills in the evidence room.

Within days, Haugen had checked themself in to the famous Hazelden Gloria Ford Foundation clinic over the border in Center City, Minnesota, and it was wrestling with Clever.

“We obtain that voice within our mind, that dictates what’s lead, and keeps this ailment given,” he authored inside a among the several dozen poems he composed within his therapy. “Only addicts can hear his voice, one which leaves us without any choice.”

For five days, Haugen worked together with his addiction as they was gradually weaned from the painkillers. He stated he found realize that he did what he didn’t while he would be a bad person, speculate he’d a disease.

There might be a large number of other Mike Haugens available who’ve been drawn in to the opioid addiction epidemic and still at work, stated Riley, the Safe Call Today founder who’s an old detective in Kirkland, Washington, whose own career was derailed by substance addiction.

Riley stated he’s unaware of any studies which have quantified the number of officials are battling with opioid addiction, but states he listens to from such officials “all time.Inches

Once they’re hooked, many police officials feel trapped — even individuals who work with departments that provide their workers use of psychiatrists and drug abuse professionals, Riley stated. “You may potentially lose your work,Inches he stated.

Also, many police leaders still consider addiction like a moral failure.

“It’s unfortunate-based system,” he stated. “It’s ingrained within the police academy that you’re held to some greater standard. Therefore if you’re hiding a dependancy, you’re shaming yourself.”

Jeffrey Goldberg, a brand new You are able to City lawyer who represents NYPD officials in battles using the department, stated he’s had several clients who grew to become hooked on prescription painkillers but were unwilling to tell their supervisors.

“The fear factor is when you admit this human frailty you’ll be able to compromise your job using the police department,” Goldberg stated. “Police officials don’t like to go over this even among themselves, for anxiety about being switched in.”

When requested if troopers face punishment for disclosing addictions, Alex Dinkla, an Iowa Condition Patrol spokesman stated inside a statement, “The specific response is determined by the details within an individual situation.”

“There are legal and policy distinctions between addiction and criminal along with other misconduct,” Dinkla stated.

When requested if Haugen could find yourself getting his job back, Dinkla stated no, that Haugen had pleaded guilty to falsifying an open record and third-degree thievery.

“These crimes are disqualifers for police force officials,” the spokesman stated, citing the state’s administrative code.


Haugen might have become as much as 2 yrs imprisonment but was handed a suspended sentence and purchased to pay for an excellent. He didn’t contest his firing.

In the resignation letter, Haugen authored that his addiction had “negatively influenced by family, buddies, co-workers yet others and I’m taking responsibility in my actions.”

He then started rebuilding his existence.

He began for his parents, excavating septic tanks and doing drilling for power companies. He stated that while they were “devastated with this,Inch they never wavered within their support for him.

Even though Forest City is the suburbs where “everybody knows everybody’s business,” Haugen stated he never considered departing or felt shunned.

“As I walk out and about, I know there are several individuals who say, ‘That’s Mike, he did this,’” he stated. “But I’ve been contacted by those who have questions and who’ve explained, ‘My mother experienced this, my father experienced it.’”

Instructions given to Mike Haugen from the citizen thanking him for his assistance as they being employed as an Iowa Condition Patrolman. Mike Haugen

Having a chuckle, Haugen remembered being stopped with a guy he once arrested “who explained I acquired screwed.”

While he’s still buddies with a few people “from the task,Inches he’s not been told by his old boss since he was placed on leave, and a few other co-workers he considered once buddies stopped coming back his calls. According to him hurts. A great deal.

But he doesn’t blame them. “It’s difficult to realize that I allow them to lower,” he stated.

That sort of talk makes Amanda, 33, angry.

“We have to start to see this like a disease,” she stated. “If you’d diabetes you wouldn’t hold it against him.”

Six several weeks ago, Haugen became a member of the Forest City Volunteer Fire Department and located the camaraderie and a few of the purpose he lost as he resigned like a trooper.

“To me it’s essential as a residential area to face behind him,” the fireplace chief, Mark Manley, stated. “We feel he needs a second chance.”

Driving through Forest City, Haugen pointed towards the place where he earned his first arrest and spoken concerning the nights and days he spent patrolling his beat, contributing to just how much he misses as being a condition trooper.

“Quite frequently I imagine getting that second chance,” he stated. “And every single day it’s just even further away.Inches

Haugen, who now requires a narcotic known as Suboxone to help keep the cravings away, stated he’s living proof that anyone can get hooked on opiates.

“When you possess an urge to make use of, it’s similar to you’re gasping for air,” he stated. “I didn’t really realize that after i was arresting people for drugs. … I understand when i state something of that nature there’s cops available trembling their heads like I’m an idiot. “

Haugen stated he lives using the anxiety about relapsing but states what went down made his marriage more powerful making him appreciate his family — and also the buddies who stuck by him — even more. He stated that despite therapy, he’s working on forgiving themself.

“I still do feel shame,” he stated. “What happened wasn’t the way i was introduced up. I’ll be ashamed throughout my existence.”

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