As addiction-related deaths continue to increase in U.S., new treatment center opens in Phoenix area

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the lockdowns that were implemented early, has resulted in skyrocketing addiction rates over the last couple of years, and more people are looking for help.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, more than five people die every day from opioid overdoses in the state, and one Phoenix area company is trying to solve the problem associated with the ongoing opioid epidemic with a unique approach.

On Jan. 27, Cornerstone Healing Center, the organization's first inpatient addiction recovery treatment facility, opened its doors.

"I wouldn't be alive," said Cole Armstrong. "I wouldn't be alive."

Armstrong is a survivor. At the age of 15, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. With that, Armstrong says, came depression, anxiety, and as he tried to cope, he turned to alcohol.

"It got really bad in my teenage years," said Armstrong. "I was 15 when I was drinking everyday."

After years of this. Armstrong got help at Cornerstone Healing.

"The goal is to get someone free from mind-altering substances that include synthetic opioids, so that we can do the heavy psychological work so they can untie the knots in their life," said CEO Estil Wallace.

Wallace says the reason they are unique is that they focus on abstinence, and incorporate the 12-step program.

"The outcomes are really, really strong, and our outcomes as much as twice as many in our region," said Wallace.

According to CDC data, there was an estimated 100,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2021, an increase of 28% from the same period the year before, and that is why Armstrong now works at Cornerstone Healing, in an effort to help others get to where he is now.

"There is a huge community of people that really want to help, and are always going to be there to help, no matter what," said Armstrong.

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