Despite record overdose deaths, recovery is possible

It’s never too late to overcome addiction.
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 6:27 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2021 at 6:49 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Overdose deaths are at an all-time high in the United States.

For the first time, the CDC reported over 100,000 overdose deaths in the United States over the past year. However, for those suffering from addiction, there is hope.

Christy Fuller is a former drug addict. She currently works as the kitchen supervisor at Northeast Arkansas Regional Recovery Center. She spent nearly four of the past eight years incarcerated for drug charges, including prison time in 2020.

“While I was in there, I decided I wanted a better life, that I couldn’t do this anymore,” Fuller said.

She decided to make a change.

She is on the road to recovery and is currently working as the kitchen supervisor at the Crowley’s Ridge Development Council in Jonesboro, an organization that creates opportunities for the disadvantaged.

While her success story is inspiring, there are countless victims of addiction out there needing help. And they’re dying at a record rate.

Overdose calls in Jonesboro doubled from 2018 to 2020, jumping from 26 to 52. So far in 2021, there have been 42 calls.

“Right now, Fentanyl is the biggest epidemic we have. It’s being cut into methamphetamine and other substances people are abusing,” said Whitney Welch, a counselor in training at NEARRC.

She said in many cases, overdoses happen when individuals take pressed pills or pills that contain drugs like fentanyl. She added if you place the pills in water and they dissolve immediately, they are a pressed pill. If it takes them a few minutes to dissolve, they are likely the real thing.

Small tips like that could save a life. And that life could get turned around with the right help.

“Once you get using and get dragged into that lifestyle, it’s hard for you to remember what normal is anymore,” Fuller said.

Fuller said having a proper support system is the most important thing in the fight to get and stay clean. For her, seeing her children again made the whole journey worth it.

“I’m actually getting to see my youngest daughter. I get her every other week now. Just that alone is saying your life will piece back together,” she said.

For her, there was light at the end of the tunnel, but it never came easy. It was a daily struggle, and she had to fight every day.

“It isn’t going to happen overnight. You didn’t lose everything overnight, you’re not going to get it back overnight,” Fuller said.

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, it’s never too late to ask for help.

  • You can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline at 1-800-662-4357.
  • You can call NEARRC at 870-932-0288
  • You can call Northeast Arkansas Treatment Services at 870-336-0549
  • For emergencies, call 9-11 immediately

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