Derek Boogaard: A Man Swallowed Up by an Addiction

Dan AdamsCorrespondent IDecember 6, 2011

A life filled with pain caused by fighting
A life filled with pain caused by fightingScott A. Schneider/Getty Images

There are many people in this world who struggle with addiction.

NHL Enforcers are unique individuals in many ways, but the way the public views many of these men is as strong, hot-headed goons who can skate.

Derek Boogaard amassed 2094 penalty minutes since starting with the Regina Caps in the 1999-2000 season; most of which resulted in five-minute major penalties for fighting. 

Many people don't know how painful getting hit in the face, head and body is over an 82-game season.

Fans love the fighting in hockey because it's part of the attraction—there is a reason why the Minnesota Wild fans screamed, "Boooo!!!!!" every time Boogaard touched the ice.

The fans loved having the toughest guy in the league on their team, but they were completely unaware of the fights he lost behind the scenes.

Derek Boogaard turned to narcotic pain medication to help with his injuries.

As big of man as Boogaard was, (6'7" and 265 pounds) he was not incapable of getting injured, and narcotic pain medicines are often administered in small doses for short periods of time to prevent addiction.

Boogaard was in a constant state of chronic pain, and it led to an addiction hidden from the public eye until his death on May 13th, 2011.

Some Americans receive narcotic pain medications such as Tylenol-3 with Codeine, Vicodin (Hydrocodone/Tylenol), and Percocet (Oxycodone/Tylenol), periodically throughout their lives for various procedures, surgeries and common injuries.

These drugs are prescribed for things as simple as getting a teeth pulled or things as major as surgeries.

Boogaard's drug of choice was Oxycodone. It can be prescribed in a number of different ways, but only legally from a doctor.

Common injuries for which Oxycodone can be prescribed are: lower back pain, broken bones or any other moderate to severe pain.

I suspect that Boogaard began taking drugs following the injuries he sustained during fights in the NHL.

When someone becomes addicted to the drug, they begin to look for the drug any way they can get it.

It is not clear, and has not been indicated, whether he was prescribed drugs or bought them off of the street.

Based on the story that leaked after Boogaard's death in May, his brother Aaron Boogaard was well aware of his brother's situation.

Aaron was monitoring the medication so Derek did not overdose.

Even after drug rehabilitation, pain does not disappear, and Boogaard did not have the mindset to quit.

Oxycodone, like most narcotics, only lasts in your system for a short period.

Once taking it for a prolonged period of time, your body develops a dependence or tolerance to it.

Derek Boogaard entered a Rehabilitation Center where he was completely detoxified of the medication.

Upon exit, Boogaard went out with his brother on a binge, planning to drink and drug.

It is possible that Boogaard underestimated what he needed to achieve his desired effect after being detoxified.

He died, and it is possible that he drank so much alcohol that the booze played a role in his death.

It will never be known whether the alcohol or the Oxycodone are to blame, but Boogaard was the victim of one of the toughest drugs there is.

It is being abused more than people realize, and it is truly sad that he couldn't find peace in his treatment programs.

No blame should go to his family. If Derek was in treatment as many times as reported, his family knew about the problem and tried to help.

Aaron Boogaard probably saved Derek's life multiple times. The drug is so overwhelming that for a family, the only way to help is to monitor the intake and hope for the best.

Derek must have faced pain everyday of his life, and he began abusing the medication that once helped him, but ended up forcing pain on he and his family.

Don't take anything away from the "Boogeyman," he was a great guy, who got trapped in a world of pain and anguish. He is not the first and won't be the last.

If you are facing a similar problem with your family, please visit this website, I spoke with multiple counselors and care coordinators before writing this article.

Please visit that website. It is the most common antidote to this problem and could save many lives. It is an alternative to complete detoxification.

Any questions please e-mail me @