Local clinic working to prevent opioid-related deaths

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- According to the Mesa County Coroner’s office, so far this year, there have been almost 30 deaths related to opioids. The number of Opioid-related deaths in Mesa County is actually higher than state and national averages, and those numbers keep on climbing.

The Grand Junction Metro Treatment Center is working to stop deaths related to opioids.

One client, who wished to remain anonymous said it's easy to get hooked on prescription medications.

"It's not that they want to use, it's that they no longer have a choice,” she said. "A lot of people are on prescription medications and they might not even know that if they were to stop they would have a problem."

She says it takes just one event, either physical or emotional before doctors become like drug dealers.

“My divorce made it hard for me to feel like I was safely responsible for my medicine so I came to the clinic,” she said.“I didn't want to misuse my medication or I didn't want to relapse."

After suffering for more than ten years and losing her job, she knew something had to change.

"At my worst, I was working in a hospital and taking bathroom breaks and with nobody's knowledge shooting up medications, pretty much as much as I could get,” she said.

The center is operated by New Season which has nearly 80 treatment centers across two dozen states, including the one here in the Grand Valley.

"We have seen an increase in patients, we have seen an increase in opportunity to help patients as well as the community and this is happening everywhere,” said New Season’s Director of Business Development and Strategic Marketing Todd Eury.

They serve more than 180 patients at their Grand Junction location.

"The goal is to become drug-free, but to do it with the medication-assisted product. That's helping you to not feel like you’re going through withdrawal or not going to withdraw to give you the ability to really think straight and really transform your life,” said Eury.

At first, each patient is monitored daily and must attend therapy sessions.They can only take their new medications in front of nurses.

"This is not a sprint, this is a marathon to get you to becoming better and being recovered,” said Eury.

The patients take medicine like Buprenorphine to help overcome withdrawal symptoms.

It's one of the first steps to getting their lives back to normal.

"So I might be on a low dose of it, long-term and that's ok with me, if I have a quality of life then it’s worth it,” the patient said.

The treatment center opens early in the morning so that people can come in before they start their day to take their medication.

After a while, they say it becomes part of their daily routine.

Everything is kept confidential. Walk-ins are always welcome but the clinic says it’s best to call to make an appointment by calling 970-208-1130.

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