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Recovery from addiction and the ongoing battle against opioid abuse

FILE - This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 file photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. In an innovative experiment, doctors prescribed fewer opioids after learning of their patient's overdose death in a letter from a county medical examiner. More than 400 “Dear Doctor” letters, sent in 2017 in San Diego County, were part of a study that put a human face on the U.S. opioid crisis for many doctors. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

SALT LAKE CITY – State officials and several organizations are coming together this week for a summit to find solutions to the ever-growing opioid epidemic.

Senator Mike Lee’s office is sponsoring the event which will be held at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Friday. The goal is to raise awareness for communities, families, and individuals on the danger of the abuse.

Darlene Schultz is not an addict herself, but she has personal stories of heartbreak and triumph with her family. Her son Adam died five years ago from a heroin overdose after struggling with years of addiction to opioids. Schultz says her son was working on being sober and a stressful day contributed to undoing that hard work.

“Any, you know, little crisis can trigger them into a relapse,” Schultz said. “We had just celebrated his 150th day of not using and he went and used heroin one time and it took his life.”

Another of her sons, seeing the struggles Adam went through, decided to get help himself after struggling with opioid addiction.

“He ended up on the vivitrol which is a medication-assisted treatment,” said Schultz. “It’s a once a month injection, was on it for seven months and recovered and went to meetings and did great.”

Schultz says her son has been in recovery 8 years now, something she’s very proud of. She also sought help following Adam’s death, getting involved in a non-profit with the goal of spreading recovery awareness called Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness (USARA).

She’s now the organization’s Family Support Program Coordinator, and gets to tell her story to other parents struggling with children battling addiction to help them understand.

“It’s impossible to do alone,” Schultz said. “I don’t know anyone that could go through recovery and do this alone. They need somebody there not to do it for them, but to sit next to them.”

For more info on the organization’s services you can click here.