PUEBLO — A new and interactive dashboard is available at the Pueblo County Health Department's website with data that breaks down drug addiction in Pueblo.
"Individual partners were saying - Hey , there are problems related to substance use, and substance treatment, but we didn’t really have a comprehensive picture!” said Anne Hill, a Public Health Epidemiologist in Pueblo.
The dashboard was made possible through a "selective" grant from the United States Department of Justice. Hill says the team was "elated" when they received the news and hopes the constantly-updated information will be useful for local organizations fighting drug problems throughout the city.
“It can help… give us a pathway of where we need to target our efforts! If it looks like addiction’s trending in this direction, it gives us the ability to kind of cut it off before it gets to a certain point," said Ashley Parsons, a recovering drug addict who know runs Harm Reduction Outreach Peer Education and Support (HOPES).
Parsons says her spiral into addiction began in the waiting room of a doctor's office.
“My addiction went from a legal prescription in the office, to finding it on the street, and then one day there was none, so I went to Heroine.”
As of March 2021, Parsons is two years clean from drugs and says she wanted to use her story to help others.
“I would take coolers out along transient paths and put clean supplies there for people, and restock it once a week. Now... I do public speaking engagements, I obviously work with people in helping get them in rehab!”
Parsons wants to remind everyone in Pueblo that empathy is one of the best tools in fighting drug addiction.
“Somebody’s mom or dad is at home crying on a nightly basis for that loved one. Are you really so heartless to think that they don’t deserve love, food help? Instead of being judgmental. Offer help.”
There are several ways for people to get help in Pueblo. Parsons says HOPE is available to anyone and everyone. Other resources include: