Jesy's Story: Beating The Opioid Epidemic

Beating the Opioid Crisis

BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Jesy Yates has a spirit animal.

"Butterflies mean a lot to me," she says. "A new beginning.  A second chance."

You can see them all around her room and she's not afraid to show them off.  In fact, she's proud of everything in her room because at one point not so long ago, she didn't have one.

"I had essentially committed suicide. I just was not physically dead yet."

About 5 years ago Jesy's sister died of breast cancer.  She was sucked into depression and coped with alcohol and drugs. She kept spinning around the revolving door, until it pushed her to the street.

"I'd pushed my family away and that wasn't enough," Jesy explains. "I have a seizure disorder, I couldn't work. I'm unemployable and that wasn't enough. But being homeless scared me really bad."

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When Jesy tried to go to the homeless shelter, they guided her to the Mebane Street Recovery Home, a sober house, part of Residential Treatment Services of Alamance.

"Typically our average client, when they come in to see us they've pretty much hit rock bottom," explains Ron Osborne, the executive director of RTSA. "They've burned bridges with their family, with their friends."

RTSA is a substance abuse and mental health facility in Alamance County.  It runs 24/7 with an 8-bed detox program and various residential programs for men and women.  Osborne says they focus on long-term recovery, encouraging clients to participate in 12-step programs.

"There's an enormous amount of people out there that are in need of treatment," Osborne explains. "We need to be able to get treatment to people."

People like Jesy.  She went to the Mebane Street Recovery Home nearly two years ago and has been sober ever since.

"I'm proud of myself because other people are proud of me," she explains. "I see the way it affects other people."

Like her two sons, who she's reconnected with after her addictions estranged her.

"I'm a fit and proper mom now to those children," she says. "That's the biggest success story in this story."

Every day the recovery home serves as a reminder of her metamorphasis.  Like a butterfly, she's grown from change.

"If I could talk to me then I would say 'Keep going. Trust the people that are trying to help you, because they know better for you than you do.'"

RTSA wants to help more people like Jesy, but often times they have to turn people away because they don't have the space.

Representative Mark Walker (R-NC) toured one of RTSA's detox and residential facilities Tuesday, part of a Triad trip aimed at tackling the opioid crisis.

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Osborne says more funding for more beds would be huge in helping the community.

"I don't think we have any other option but to be able to provide some additional funding," Rep. Walker admits.

He spent Tuesday morning having a conversation with law-enforcement, caregivers, first reponders and others involved in the crisis to get some more insight to take back to Washington.

He says he hopes to push for more to be done with prevention, getting rid of the stigma and long-term treatements.

© 2017 WFMY-TV


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