Christopher James Fagan is a successful businessman. Not many, however, are aware of the tribulations he went through – struggling with prescription drug and illicit substance abuse. He did turn his life around and has since become one of Canada’s top addiction experts.
Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Fagan had a rough childhood. He had experienced living on the streets, experimenting with illegal drugs, run-ins with the law, and being put under the care of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS).
At 16, Fagan realized that he needed to change his life. Knowing there is much to do in life, he worked three jobs and – after years of hard work – perseverance paid off. In 1998 and the years to follow, he opened and ran many successful restaurants and nightclubs in Ottawa (Canada), Florida (USA), and Puerto Rico.
In 2006, Fagan cashed in, selling all his businesses. He had no inkling of an event that would occur a year after, one that would change his life forever. While on vacation in the United States, he got involved in a serious car accident. He spent the next thirteen weeks in the hospital, recovering from near-fatal injuries. Unfortunately, the massive injuries left him with a brain injury that he has to live with for the rest of his life.
Not long after being discharged from the hospital, Fagan took a flight back to Canada. During the layover in Chicago, he suffered from a severe headache and momentarily lost consciousness. At any rate, he was cleared for travel after an hour by medical professionals. Upon arriving in Ottawa and being admitted into a hospital, he was administered Fentanyl IV to relieve the intolerable pain.
When he was cleared to leave the hospital, a doctor prescribed Fentanyl patch (12 mcg), which is changed every three days for headache relief – and the beginning of his prescription drug addiction.
Like many drugs, Fagan’s body developed a tolerance to Fentanyl. From 12.5 mcg, it increased to 25 mcg, 50 mcg, and finally, 100 mcg – the maximum allowable dose. His mood also changed. As the dosage increased, he also became increasingly irritated. Even worse, he started changing the patch every two days, instead of three. The foul mood – clearly the onset of depression – had already taken a toll on his family life.
When his doctor finally refused to change the dose, Fagan – a desperate addict – resorted to finding ways to get his fix. One article he found online detailed how chewing the patch can double up the effects. He did precisely that, effectively raising the effects of 100 mcg Fentanyl patch to 200 mcg.
Eventually, his body became immune, too. Once again, he had to find ways to further heighten the effects. At the same time, his mood swings got worse. On four separate occasions, he nearly overdosed.
In 2015, Fagan finally realized he needed help with his Fentanyl addiction. A public health nurse he talked to referred him to a methadone clinic. Realizing that opioid-based prescription drugs can be dangerous, he took time to research methadone. His due diligence, in a sense, paid off, having learned that this drug is incredibly addictive and potentially much worse than heroin and Fentanyl.
Declining to go to the clinic, the nurse he talked to then arranged for him to enter a drug rehab program ran by the Canadian Government. However, the waiting list – ranging from six to twelve months – was too long.
Fagan tried to wean himself off Fentanyl, but could not do it himself. In his mind, he was going to die unless he could get the much-needed help. Instead of waiting, he entered a private drug rehabilitation center, which lasted 90 days.
After the successful completion of his treatment program, Fagan was finally sober. The pain he had been dealing with since the car accident is now tolerable and manageable. More importantly, his body no longer craves Fentanyl.
As fate would have it, the struggle with addiction also placed him in a unique position – a full understanding of what one has to endure on the way to sobriety. His experience became the source of his motivation and dedication to helping other people get alcohol or drugs out of their system. Instead of letting a drug define his life, he used his experience to benefit people who could use the help.
Christopher Fagan is the founder of 1000 Islands Addictions Treatment Centre and Medical Detox Ontario – a private drug and alcohol recovery centre in Mallorytown, Ontario. Through this facility, he has helped countless individuals defeat their addiction and regain their lives.
Fagan is a recipient of the 1000 Islands Gananoque Chamber of Commerce Humanitarian Award. He also joins the Forbes Magazine Council, an invitation-only organization where business leaders and successful entrepreneurs build connections, visibility, and growth.
Company Name: 1000 Islands Addictions Treatment Centre
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Address:Thousand Islands Parkway Mallorytown