TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The opioid crisis has become a defining public health issue across the nation.
“I was 1988 NFL man of the year, married my college cheerleader dream wife, had two great kids and I was also a drug addict, this is the face of addiction,” said Randy Grimes, former Robert E. Lee Red Raider and eventual Tampa Bay Buccaneer. And a recovering opioid user.
Grimes travels the world to share his story in hopes of bringing healing and hope.
“It’s my philosophy that when communities get well, families get well when families get well, addicts get well, so it’s all about educating and reducing the stigma that keeps people from asking for help,” he said.
Opioid use is a nationwide problem with life-changing consequences.
“In Texas in particular, about opioids, we have in the past year to two years been averaging about 100 deaths per month from opioid abuse,” said Linda Oyer, with East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.
That’s exactly why Sheriff Larry Smith says it’s so important to get ahead of the trend right here in East Texas. Explaining that just recently, they had their first opioid overdose call. Tow people were found unconscious, only one survived after a dose of Narcan.
They want to find ways to keep users out of jail and in treatment programs.
“We can’t arrest enough people and let them in and out of jail to fix the problem, we have to fix the problem where the problem starts,” said Sheriff Smith.
They hope events like these will bring awareness to an issue that is stealing lives every single day.