Recovering addict reacts to national focus on opioid epidemic - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Recovering addict reacts to national focus on opioid epidemic

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TUCSON-  Government leaders have declared the opioid epidemic an emergency in Arizona and the nation. 

In a press conference in early August, President Donald Trump called the issue a national emergency. 

"We are going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis," said President Trump.

In June, Governor Doug Ducey declared it a statewide health emergency.

A week after his declaration, Gov. Ducey issued an executive order to increase reporting of opioid-related data, allowing state health officials to have information within 24 hours.

The new data shows since June 15, more than 1,500 possible opioid overdoses have been reported in Arizona. 

The data also shows there have been 202 suspect opioid deaths in the state since June 15. 

To see more data, click here. 

Kaila Fugate, 25, is a recovering addict at The Haven. The Haven is a local facility working to help women and women with children as they recover from the disease of addiction to drugs and or alcohol.

Fugate battles with an addiction to heroin. She said the opioid epidemic is everywhere.

"Ultimately the OxyContin led me to the heroin. It turned me into a completely different person than I ever thought I would be in a million years?," she said. "It just completely destroyed my life in every way possible."

When News4 told Fugate about the new data regarding suspect opioid deaths, she said it gave her chills. 

"It actually just gave me chills, just hearing that. It is just, it is awful. I think doctors and hospitals sometimes too are just as responsible as drug dealers on the street. It is just as bad."

She said she had experiences receiving drugs at hospitals.

"When I would be detoxing, the reason I would go to the hospital would be to get medication that was going to help me, that was in a sense also going to make me high," she said. "I was given Ativan one time, I was given morphine in an IV which is another opiate. I actually used to go to the emergency room and fake a tooth ache and I would be given Oxycodone like nothing."

Fugate is a mother of three determined to be the mother "her children deserve". 

"Because of my addiction and my drug use I am now involved with DCS," she said. "That is what I am here to do. I am fighting for my kids. I am going to do this."

She said more funding should be given to facilities like The Haven. 

"The Haven has saved my life in a sense. I feel like they are here for me and I'm not just another statistic and I'm not just another addict."

The Haven is hosting a free community forum with documentary films to bring awareness to the opioid epidemic. It will be held Oct. 8 at 1 p.m.

For more information about the event, click here.

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