NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. (WCCO) — It was intense back pain as the result of a traffic accident that put young mother Wendy Leffler on the opioid train.

But what began as a way to manage her pain suddenly took control of her life.

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“You go from taking, you know, what the doctor prescribes to taking your medicine, you get a prescription that month, you’re taking it in a week because you build up a tolerance to the medication,” Leffler said.

She felt out of control, even to the point of trying heroin. Then she found help at the Steady State Medicine clinic in New Brighton.

“I’m back to where I was before I started taking narcotics, the oxycodone,” she said.

Dr. Gary Werth specializes in helping addicts and prescribes the drug Suboxone to reverse opioid cravings.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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“[Suboxone] provides enough opioid signal to keep the brain in balance, to keep out of withdrawal, to get back to normal life,” Werth said. “And it’s basically a drug that stabilizes the people on it much the way we have medicines that stabilize blood sugar or blood pressure.”

Suboxone is likely the drug that would have been used to treat Prince for his addiction. Dr. Werth says it is prescribed in the form of a thin piece of film that is administered under the tongue. But more than prescribe it, Werth also works with patients in group therapy.

“It manages chronic pain, gets people’s life back in balance, and what most patients say when they’re started on it is within the first couple days they feel like they’re back to being normal for the first time in a long time,” Werth said.

Leffler says she is feeling like herself again and credits her doctor — and a wonder drug.

“Once I came to Dr. Werth, that straightened my life out,” Leffler said. “It saved my life.”

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Minnesota doctors have to be registered and approved to prescribe the addiction-fighting drug. Click here for more information.