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Addiction recovery specialists say the holidays are a dangerous time for addicts

SALT LAKE CITY – A recovery center in Salt Lake City is handing out a different kind of Christmas gift to addicts and their families.  The Odyssey House is giving Naloxone kits for people at risk over overdosing on opioids.

Recovering addict Brett Fabert had been clean for six months, right up until Thanksgiving.  He saw friends and family drinking and he decided to join in.  Shortly after, he went back to his old drugs of choice, heroin and cocaine.  He says he was so ashamed of his relapse, he cried about it for two days.  Fabert says, “You feel like you failed everybody.  You feel like nobody is going to be able to look up to you ever again.”  He says others had admitted to him that they slipped back into drugs and was supportive of them, but, he was very critical of himself.

Fabert has friends who overdosed from taking heroin after being clean for a while.  “I had my friend reach out to me, homeless, needing help and asking what I could do.  I started reaching out to my resources here to try and get him help.  The next night, he died,” Fabert says.

Counselors say the holidays are difficult for addicts for several reasons.  Odyssey House Licensed Clinical Social Worker Misty McIntyre-Goodsell says family relations can sometimes be the reason someone tried drugs for the first time.  She adds, “Families can be a huge trigger for people in recovery.  Also, if you have been using substances or have an addiction issue, a lot of times you’re alienated from your family.”

Along with the Naloxone kits handed out by the Odyssey House, McIntyre-Goodsell says they’re training people how to administer the opioid antidote.  She says it’s important for the loved ones of addicts to show their support.  “Check in with them.  Let them know that you’re there,” she adds.