Southern Arizona agencies coordinate on opioid abuse prevention

Updated: Sep. 15, 2017 at 8:12 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Agencies, organizations and individuals shared tips and insights at the Southern Arizona Opioid Abuse Prevention Symposium in Pima County Friday, Sept. 15.

Speeches and presentations lasted all day at the Westward Look Resort. Everyone including medical experts, prevention specialists, law enforcement and recovering addicts spoke to the packed house.

Former addict David Wilinski told the crowd that all the people in the room were roughly equal to the number of opioid overdose deaths in Pima County last year. Wilinksi's the Center Director for the Teen Challenge center on Tucson's west side. His recovery began 11 years with the Teen Challenge program.

"I had to use a or I'd get sick," he said "And when I mean sick, I mean the worst flu you've ever had times 10. No sleep and anxiety"

Wilinski shared his story with at the symposium and brought what he learned back to the approximately 30 students he leads at the center.

"Who better to be able to minister than someone that's been in the exact spot, where I've overdosed and died and lost everything," he said.

Amy Bass with the Community Prevention Coalition tapped Wilinski to speak Friday. She said the organization has organized groups from across southern Arizona twice like this.

"There are so many people coming together and that's really the way to solve an epidemic, as you approach it from every angle," she said.

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