Recovering addict tells of triumph, credits lifesaving drug with opportunity

SEATTLE -- Michael Polgar grew up in Edmonds and loved life.

But early on, his parents’ relationship woes had an immediate effect.

“There was a custody battle between my mother, my father that caused some anxiety, a little anger,” said Polgar, a recovering addict.

Michael tells Q13 News he rebelled as a teen and in ninth grade he began hanging out with the wrong crowd. He started drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.

Watch above: Part 1 of a raw interview with Polgar. 

“It quickly escalated to cocaine to other pain pills, ecstasy, and usually by the time I was 21, you know, I got introduced to heroin,” said Polgar.

And by then, Michael says he was hooked. He spent the next eleven years in Washington and Georgia chasing that first high.

“It felt good to do it and I just became dependent on that,” said Polgar.

Michael still has a few pictures of himself in the depths of his eleven year heroin use from 2000 to 2011. In the pictures he describes himself as ‘obviously high’ with a blank stare on his face and blood on his shirt.

“I was homeless I wasn’t working I wasn’t in any intimate relationships at that time. There wasn’t anything from that time that really stood out except for waking up from overdoses or going to jail or things like that,” said Polgar.

Over the course of his heroin use, Michael says his life was saved over and over again by the opioid overdose antidote called naloxone.  He says after overdoing some 20 times, he lost count.

“I once overdosed and woke up in Harborview and still had some in my sock. And as soon as I was revived and stable, they let me go to the restroom, I used again, and they had to revive me again,” said Polgar.

It wasn’t until 2009 when Michael Polgar was arrested for the last time when he hit his rock bottom. Given the choice of treatment or prison, he chose life.

Watch above: Part 2 of a raw interview with Polgar 

But recent reports of the skyrocketing costs of naloxone have Michael disheartened.

“It’s just another thing for the pharmaceutical companies to profit off of,” said recovering heroin addict Michael Polgar.

Michael says he volunteers at the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance with clients who he says need to have naloxone on-hand.

“The more people who know how to use it, the more accessible it is, the cheaper it is, the more lives we can save,” said Polgar.

In his fight to give back, he fears the rising costs of naloxone will mean fewer addicts may get a shot at a chance to choose life.

Watch above: Part 3 of a raw interview with Polgar 

Since Michael entered rehab, he’s gone back to school. He says he is 100 percent sober abstaining from tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.

“My life is pretty awesome today. I’m in school, doing a lot of things with my life,” said Michael.

Michael went back in 2015 by starting at Seattle Central College in the Social and Human Service program. In July, he’ll be awarded an AAS in Social and Human Services with the ultimate goal of getting his Master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Washington.

The cost of waking up: The cost of life-saving drug skyrockets, putting Puget Sound lives at risk