On Thursday, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. According to the CDC, the opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history, killing about 90 people every day.
While Trump’s declaration doesn’t release any new money to help solve the opioid crisis, it does shift some federal money to help addicts, which is certainly a step in the right direction. If Trump had declared the epidemic a national emergency, it would have allowed for additional funding; however, this adds some much needed urgency to the conversation and will undoubtedly allow for more action.
In his address he stated, “As American’s, we cannot allow this to continue. It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction. Never been this way. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.”
“No part of our society — not young or old, rich or poor, urban or rural — has been spared this plague of drug addiction and this horrible, horrible situation that’s taken place with opioids,” Mr. Trump said at a ceremony in the White House East Room attended by families affected by opioid abuse, members of Congress and administration officials.
Recovery Ways’ Debbie Reid, a clinical social worker, sat down with KUTV to discuss the opioid epidemic facing us in Utah and the successes and relapses of those struggling with opioid addiction.
One of those success stories is Charles Sales, a business development rep at Recovery Ways celebrated his ‘birthday’ on Thursday, exactly 7 years since becoming sober, after a downward spiral from opioid addiction.
“I was involved in a car accident, hurt my shoulder,” said the 28-year-old, of the event that triggered his slide. Sales said a doctor prescribed opioids for his pain. Eventually, he shopped other docs to get more, and then shot from prescriptions to heroin.
Eventually, seven years ago, he was put in touch with Recovery Ways, a new drug treatment program in the Salt Lake Valley, which accepted him as one of its first clients, at no charge.
See more about Charles’ story below.