COLORADO SPRINGS — An estimated 93,000 Americans died from overdoses in 2020, which is an increase of around 29% from 2019. That's the largest annual increase in at least 50 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Local individuals who are now in recovery are urging anyone struggling with addiction to seek help. In Southern Colorado, AspenRidge Recovery just expanded into a full rehab facility, bringing more resources to the area. The new space opened in June and adds more intensive outpatient services to the region, as well as a partial hospitalization program.
"We need to do everything we can to improve the system that identifies folks who are struggling, intervene as early as we can, link them to the services and supports that we need because we do know that healing is possible," said Shannon Van Deman, the chief executive officer of AspenRidge Recovery.
Van Deman said behavioral health services were already at a crisis level before the COVID-19 pandemic. "Behavioral health is going to be something that's impacted for 10 to 20 years to come after this," said Van Deman.
Substance use and mental health issues often intersect, according to Van Deman.
"Oftentimes because of trauma and or mental health, addictions are turned to, or substances are turned to, as a means to self-medicate... If you really want to treat addictions, you have to treat underlying trauma, and you have to be able to treat underlying mental health issues that are going on," explained Van Deman.
Autumn Schindler is an AspenRidge Recovery client who has been sober for around six months. She said her addiction is to alcohol, and she relapsed in November of 2020. However, she said this time her recovery is different.
"AspenRidge has really helped me to solidify my ground again because I definitely had lost sight of that... It's really easy to feel like you're alone, and especially during last year and with COVID and with everything that was going on, I think that you really can get lost inside your own head," said Schindler, who is from Monument originally.
Those with AspenRidge Recovery said they take most kinds of insurance, except for Medicaid.