COLORADO SPRINGS — October is substance abuse prevention month and overdose-related deaths continue to rise across the United States, including in Colorado.
A new analysis of CDC data found there have been 1,909 overdose-related deaths over the last year, a 15% increase. With the continued rise in drug-related deaths, one survivor of addiction in Colorado Springs is helping decrease the stigma around addiction by sharing her story.
Laynee Blair is part of Lift the Label, a statewide campaign where people recovering from drug addiction share their stories to help reduce some of the stigmas around drug use.
Blair, now a mother of two, was brought up homeschooled in a Christian household.
She says people will tell her, "You don't look like you used heroin for seven years."
"I'm like... What does somebody who uses heroin look like? Cause I've seen so many different types of people," said Blair.
Blair eventually found herself drinking and smoking marijuana as a teenager, a slippery slope which eventually lead to opioids and a heroin addiction.
"In the beginning, it is a choice, but once you're physically addicted, choice isn't a thing anymore and it just kind of creeps up on you and you don't realize it," said Blair.
After six inpatient programs, four sober living homes, two outpatient programs, and detoxing multiple times, according to her Lift the Label biography, Blair relapsed every time she tried to stay sober.
However, when she became pregnant with her son, Blair found the motivation she needed to get clean.
"I fully believe that without him I don't know that I would be alive... Life could have gone drastically different, or just not have what I have" reflected Blair.
Blair calls the increase in overdose-related deaths "just sad".
"I just hope that those who like really want to get sober are able to access those resources," said Blair.
Even though Blair doesn't have an anecdote for an addiction she believes sharing stories of survival is a good place to start.
You can follow this link if you want to get involved with the Lift the Labelcampaign to help reduce the stigma around drug addiction across Colorado, or access other resources if you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction.
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