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SAN ANTONIO - According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 107,000 people across the U.S. died from drug overdose in 2021. Over the next two days, the annual Texas Substance Use Symposium will be offering solutions.
Speaker at the conference and as a person in remission, Ariel Britt says she was a different person 11 years ago. Britt knew she wouldn’t have the life she has now if she kept abusing alcohol and cocaine.
"At some point my body just shut down and had this perfect window of opportunity and clarity that I wasn’t going to have the life that I dreamed,” says Britt.
The Symposium aims at increasing drug recovery programs to all 254 counties in Texas.
"We know when people are treated for a substance use disorder with evidence based treatment or science based treatment it reduces the likelihood of a death," says organizer of the symposium and vice president of research of UT Health San Antonio and Executive Director of Be Well Texas Dr. Jennifer Potter.
Potter says the conversation at the conference also includes drugs laced with Fentanyl.
"Young people, it’s very common they might experiment. When you experiment and there are very dangerous and illicitly made drugs like fentanyl. It makes it that much more dangerous for people to try even once," says Potter.
"Once you find recovery it doesn’t mean your life is over; it means you have a new life coming," says Britt.
And for Britt, she now works at the University of Texas for the Addiction Research Institute creating policies and serving as a true role model for change.
"I wouldn’t have this baby. I wouldn't have the amazing fiancé that I have today. I wouldn’t have this life," says Britt.