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Arizona's Opioid Emergency: A story of recovery

Posted: 8:51 PM, Mar 29, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-30 18:02:15Z

Arizona is trying to get a grip on the opioid crisis after Gov. Doug Ducey declared an opioid emergency last year. 

As time goes by, more and more Arizonans are falling victim to the epidemic. 

Andrew Schwartz' life was a complete mess for nearly 15 years. He had a lot on his plate, issues that made him reach his lowest point, such as running his business into the ground, coping with an ill father, marriage problems, and chronic headaches.

The only solution for him, at that time, was to visit his doctor, who prescribed Percocet and Oxycontin to treat his headaches. Drugs that would also help treat his feelings of guilt and shame, lack of self-esteem and self-worth.

"I thought this is a wonder drug," Schwartz explained. 

Schwartz was hopelessly addicted to oxycontin to the point where he was getting it from multiple doctors and even from the streets.

"I was going to bed praying to God that I didn't wake up and waking up very angry that I was not dead," he said. 

A life he and his family hated, one that seemed impossible to get out of until his wife said it was enough and was time for a change.

"She looked into it and told me I needed to go to treatment, and she gave me a choice, get treatment, or we are done, I chose treatment," he explained as he smiled and looked up at the sky.

Schwartz says it was a decision that saved his life and his family.

At Sierra Tucson, he has found the professional help he needed. Now he is clean, and his family is happier than ever.

Although he is still in recovery, he is proud to say he has not had drugs in almost two decades.

"Recovery is the most important thing in my life, from the moment I get up to the moment I go to bed," he said.