President Donald Trump declared a public health emergency to fight an opioid epidemic, which is taking 140 lives in America every day. And overdose rates in Bexar County are the highest in Texas.
Cynthia Dandridge struggled with her heroin addiction for 20 years.
“It's so addicting, physically. You have to have it or you go into physical withdrawals and you're very very sick,” she said.
She's not alone. Last year, nearly 12 million people abused opioids.
To combat that, President Trump declared a public health emergency, which will streamline some access to addiction treatment.
Brian Clark, a physician assistant who treats addicts daily at Health Care Services, sees it first hand.
“Two-thirds of our patients are for opioid addiction,” he noted.
Earlier this year, local officials put together a Joint Opioid Task Force to combat the problem. Federal money was also allocated to provide training, education, and the use of Naloxone, a medication used to reverse the effects of an overdose.
But for addicts, it takes more than that. Dandridge said that treatment saved her life. She now works as a licensed chemical dependency counselor, helping people just like her overcome addiction.
The federal government estimates that combating the crisis costs $75 billion per year.
Many have criticized Trump's decision to not make the crisis a national emergency, which would have provided access to billions in federal funds.
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