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The Powerful Pull Of Opioids Leaves Many 'Missing' From U.S. Workforce

Opioid addiction affects people's work lives more than alcohol or other drugs, and those who struggle with it tell strikingly similar tales of deepening alienation from their careers.
Destini Johnson was released unexpectedly early because, she tells her parents, the jail was overcrowded. Source: Seth Herald for NPR

Jonathan Guffey has chiseled youthful looks and, at 32, does not have the haggard bearing of someone who's spent more than half his life hooked on opioids. That stint with the drug started at 15 and ended — he says for good — 22 months ago. He has a job working with his family in construction, but his work history is pockmarked by addiction.

"I've worked in a couple of factories for a short amount of time, probably just long enough to get the first check to get high off of," Guffey says.

I met Guffey at an event called Road to Redemption, a weekly free dinner and support meeting at a church in Muncie, Ind., for people in, or

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