Local recovering opioid addict: 'I'm glad that it's being talked - KPTV - FOX 12

Local recovering opioid addict: 'I'm glad that it's being talked about'

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

President Donald Trump put the opioid epidemic at the forefront of the political discussion with a speech Thursday, and to those affected by this crisis, it was long overdue.

Tyler Madden, a recovering addict, told FOX 12 opioid abuse is a complicated topic but that he welcomes the conversation.

“I’m glad that it’s being talked about again, that there is some serious action taken,” he said. “I’d like to see - you know that was just a speech - I’d like to see some actual action taken now towards it.”

Madden believes things might have been different for him if there had been a spotlight on the crisis when he got hooked. He said he was 17 years old when he popped his first prescription pill, turning to harder drugs after that.

“I was a good student in school. I got good grades,” he recalled. “I played three sports and I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into.”

The stereotype of a drug user is part of what Trump touched on in his speech and what Madden fights daily in his job with Hope Northwest.

He is an outreach and volunteer coordinator and helps men from all backgrounds through their recovery. Madden told FOX 12 he knows well the fact that recovery can’t be done alone.

“The emptiness and the loneliness that I was experiencing in my life was so intense, and I just came to the end of my road and it was either life or death,” he said.

Madden is coming up on three years sober and said awareness is the first step to combating the epidemic.

The president called the crisis a worldwide problem. Officials say overdose deaths are up four times the amount they were in 1999.

"More people are dying from drug overdoses today than gun homicide and motor vehicles crashes combined,” Trump said Thursday. “Think of it. Motor vehicle crashes, gun homicides. More people, by far from drug overdoses."

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