Former drug addict encouraged by Trump putting opioid crisis in national spotlight

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Rudy Montijo, 37, knows first hand about the drug epidemic in Arizona and across the country.  The Phoenix loan officer spent 15 years battling addiction and it nearly killed him. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Rudy Montijo, 37, knows first hand about the drug epidemic in Arizona and across the country. The Phoenix loan officer spent 15 years battling addiction and it nearly killed him. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The President's declaration does shift some federal money to help addicts, but does not release any new money to address the drug epidemic, which has been fueled by highly-addictive pain killers flooding the market. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The President's declaration does shift some federal money to help addicts, but does not release any new money to address the drug epidemic, which has been fueled by highly-addictive pain killers flooding the market. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Rudy Montijo, 37, knows first hand about the drug epidemic in Arizona and across the country.

The Phoenix loan officer spent 15 years battling addiction and it nearly killed him.

[RELATED: State gets millions, will train more first responders to fight opioid overdoses]

"No one thinks they'll get a DUI until you get a DUI," said Montijo. "No one thinks they'll lose their job until they lose their job. So, of course, no one thinks they can be an addict until they actually become an addict."

Motijo finally got the help he needed, but he knows thousands of other drug users aren't as fortunate.

In Arizona, there were 790 opioid overdose deaths 2016, which is up 16 percent from the year before.

[RELATED: Arizona agency gets $3.2M from US to combat opioid abuse]

On Thursday, President Trump took a major step towards addressing America's drug problem by declaring a public health emergency to fight the opioid crisis.

David Larimer is director of the Scottsdale Recovery Center and believes what the President did today has the potential to help a lot of people.

[RELATED: Opioid overdose deaths increased in Arizona this summer]

"Public opinion is critical," said Larimer. "For this to be at the forefront now says to the public that this is a critical crisis, so now we need to mobilize communities to address this."

The President's declaration does shift some federal money to help addicts, but does not release any new money to address the drug epidemic, which has been fueled by highly-addictive pain killers flooding the market.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Opioid Crisis in Arizona]

It will now be up to lawmakers to create more funding for drug treatment and recovery programs.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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