Methods to help battle opioid addiction

KGUN9 Presents Arizona's Opioid Emergency

TUCSON, Ariz. - Since June of last year there have been more than 1,000 suspected opioid deaths in Arizona. 

Tessa Gabilondo is a life coach and Melanie Skillin is a medical assistant at Recovery in Motion in Tucson.   

Skillin says what keeps many addicts away from treatment is the fear of withdraws.  

"Opioid withdraw is very ugly," said Skillin. "It can be very painful."

She says to help doctors prescribe a synthetic opioid to help tapper clients off drugs. Recovering addicts live in a nearby housing complex. Their day begins at 4:45 a.m. and ends around 10 p.m.

Gabilondo describes the recovery program as jam-packed full of activities to help the mind, body, and spirit.

"A couple days in they start to have some color in their skin, they are like gray when they get here and you know they have sores and we have seen all sort of things and you just get to see them more and more human," said Gabilondo.

In addition to the activities and meetings with therapists, life coaches, and counselors there is a 12-step program helping addicts have greater self-awareness and change their behaviors. 

Gabilondo and Skillin have both been through treatment themselves and say they are better equipped to help people battling addiction.  

"A lot of times we are able to share things from our own stories anything from you know help the client, you know I got through this, you can get through this," said Skillin. "Here is how I did it, here's you know some suggestions."

They say addicts are isolated and alone, but when a person enters a treatment center they are connected to a recovery community and will have people supporting them every step of the way.

"Everyday I get to come in here and you see people at your worst and they leave here and they have hope and have a glow in their eyes and a fire to get their life back on track and its truly amazing," said Skillin. 

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