Dustin French, 29, had four drug overdoses in the span of a year. â€śI was dead on arrival to the hospital,â€ť he said of his last heroin overdose, which happened in April. â€śI woke up â€¦ and I didnâ€™t feel like myself. I could tell this time I was really dead.â€ť
Now, he says, heâ€™s 100 days clean. He lives with his girlfriend. And he has three sons: an 8-year-old, a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old.
He credits his turnaround to a relationship he launched in the emergency department with a â€śpeer recovery specialistâ€ť â€” someone who had herself struggled with addiction. She was there, he said, â€śwhen nobody else was.â€ť
Stories like Frenchâ€™s have led policymakers â€” here in Rhode Island and in other states â€” to embrace a road to recovery led by people who have traveled it. Itâ€™s a growing effort to address the nationâ€™s burgeoning opioid epidemic.
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