PUEBLO — The Southern Colorado Harm Reduction Association (SCHRA), which serves people suffering from addiction, found that they are averaging about 65% of people telling them their street drugs have tested positive for fentanyl, a deadly opiate. Those struggling with addiction were able to find the fentanyl because of free test strips given out by SCHRA, which also hosts a syringe access program and gives out Narcan, a drug with the power to reverse an opioid overdose.
Those with SCHRA said they are the entry point for those battling addiction, and SCHRA's main goal is to keep addicts alive. However, they want to see more programs helping maintain recovery for those who have gone through treatment. "There's a huge lack of resources in this part of the state, so we're trying to change that," said Judy Solano, the founder and director of SCHRA.
One program dedicated to those in recovery is Addict 2 Athlete, a support group that uses CrossFit to help former addicts stay clean by focusing on personal fitness. "In addiction, you lose your self-respect, your self-worth, your... everything, your self-confidence. And I feel that bringing athletics and working out into the mix, it builds that back up," said Sheena Archuleta, the executive director and co-founder of Addict 2 Athlete.
Kayleigh Nelson is a client who said she loved the program so much, she stuck around and became a coach. "Regardless of where they've been, or what has happened, we can never go back and change that. But we can start, right now, and we can make a different future for them," said Nelson, who has been in recovery for around eight years.
Still, Solano said it's difficult to bridge the gap between those seen at SCHRA and those who go through treatment and end up in Addict 2 Athlete. "Treatment is this little tiny piece of this whole process, and then you have recovery which is like months, years, a lifetime. So, we need to address that part, and that's where we are having a huge lack of resources. We need a recovery community," said Solano.
The support group at Addict 2 Athlete meets on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and has both a discussion and workout.
Those with SCHRA said they are working with organizations in Denver to bring more recovery housing to Pueblo. Their syringe access program happens every Saturday, unless it's a major holiday.