At one point in her life, Dr. Melanie Weiss of Watertown had it all – a successful optometry business, a healthy family, and a nice home. But after having three surgeries, she started on a journey nine years ago that she never planned on – a journey of prescription drug addiction. Weiss told her story of both addiction and hope on Wednesday to Madison community members at Madison High School. Throughout the day Wednesday, Weiss also brought her message to students at Madison, Chester, and Ramona.
Weiss said she began taking more prescription pain medication in 2010 and thought she was a better person when she was on them. She said she went back to her surgeon for refills, and when she couldn’t get any more that way, she then began taking pills from family members.
Weiss said she also started writing prescriptions for other people to fill for her. She had written a prescription for her nephew to fill for her and she said her brother-in-law turned her into the Watertown Police Department. That eventually led to her losing her Drug Enforcement Agency license – or her ability to write prescriptions for controlled substances – and she had to submit to a year of random drug testing. It was something she said she thought would help her.
Weiss said she also went into other people’s homes to steal medication – including some of her daughters’ friends and others who she knew were going to be gone for some reason.
Weiss said all of this behavior and desperation came to a crashing halt three years ago when she was arrested after going in and stealing more medication from someone’s home.
Weiss eventually went through treatment and after a plea agreement, she served 110 days in jail, and had her optometry license suspended for two-and-a-half years. She said she continues to be monitored by the Health Professionals Assistance Program and to go through therapy for her addiction. Weiss said she is grateful that other families said something in her case that eventually led to her arrest and long road of recovery. She encourages people to “say something if they see something” because bad things have to happen sometimes in order for people to realize that they need help.
Find more information on Dr. Weiss and her story on her website “Vision of Hope”.