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National Recovery Month: Addiction survivors share their stories

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 5:49 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The pandemic wreaked havoc on mental health and caused a spike in overdose deaths.

“I didn’t think I would make it to 30 honestly. I was so close to death on a daily basis,” said Brittany Contreras, an addiction survivor.

Contreras said she was addicted to heroin and fentanyl for at least seven years.

“I had to be NARCANed a few times, so I really have been there at the lowest of the low,” she said. “Sleeping in tunnels, having to commit crimes to support my habit.”

This December will mark one full year of sobriety. Another Tucsonan, Lily Armstrong, has her own success story.

“I was on a 17-year active addiction,” Armstrong said. “My drug of choice was Methamphetamine.”

In 2015 she was given a choice to either go to prison or seek treatment. She’s been clean ever since. Armstrong now works as a recovery coach for, CODAC, a behavioral health group. The Tucson clinic has continued to see an increase in enrollment through the pandemic.

According to the state health department, Arizona saw more than 500 opioid overdose deaths in August of 2020, compared to 315 in August of this year.

“It just takes just one hit, one pill and you don’t know. That’s it. It’s game over,” Contreras said.

With September being National Recovery Month, each woman shared what a month dedicated to recovery means to them.

“It brings to light the severity of the epidemic we’re going through right now,” Armstrong said. “It also highlights the struggles that folks who are battling with addiction go through on a day-to-day basis.”

Contreras wants people to know there’s hope and light at the end of the tunnel.

“There’s a higher power, and they’re loved, and their lives are worth changing and recovering,” she said.

CODAC accepts new patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The clinic can be contacted at 520-202-1786. Learn more on their website, here.

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