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Overcoming addiction during a record year of overdose deaths in Pima County

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Posted at 7:30 AM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 10:30:28-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Hundreds lost their lives to an overdose last year in Pima County in 2020 and one treatment center says there is hope.

Inside of Recovery in Motion, you'll find people from all backgrounds hoping to reclaim their lives. Sonia Escamilla is one.

"I was hopeless. I couldn't hold the job without needing to be well every morning. I couldn't get through the day, I was being controlled by my addiction. There was nothing else, and it was just in a dark, dark place," she said.

Escamilla has been in treatment for a little over a week after finding herself using fentanyl.

"Having lost my mother and my brother. I lived with them my whole life to go into living on my own and not being able to reach out and then being fearful of the pandemic, and not to be able to see family. And then with the unemployment," said Escamilla.

The recovery center's Director Nick Jones said the epidemic is getting worse.

Pima County data backs up that claim. The county set a new record for overdose deaths in 2020 with 446 people losing their lives.

"What's shocking to me is the fentanyl situation where half the people that are dying now are fentanyl overdoses and it's increasing by 60% every year, so you know we got five people a day in Arizona," said Jones.

For Escamilla, it didn't start with fentanyl and she isn't the only one in her family that got involved with the silent killer.

As she continues to her journey of sobriety she holds her family close--- and looks ahead to helping her community.

"I want to make, create a restaurant on the reservation for my people that's more modern for them so they don't have to drive an hour into town to experience something that we have easily available to us," said Escamilla.