One addict’s journey now helps others overcome addiction

September is National Recovery Month, and one man says addiction can be beaten.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 5:57 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2022 at 7:28 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - September is National Recovery Month, and one man says addiction can be beaten.

“You can overcome this addiction.” Calvin Brown held these words close to his heart when he was breaking away from his drug dependence.

“Well, I started using drugs, marijuana at the age of 14, that escalated into alcohol, and from 18 it went to cocaine,” explained Brown.

Brown cleaned up at 21, staying sober for three years until a visit to the hospital.

“They prescribed me some Lortab, hydrocodone, and I had been clean from drugs for three years. So, when I started taking those hydrocodone pills, it gave me that feeling again, like wow, I’ve never felt this before,” said Brown.

From there, Brown’s life spiraled. He went to jail five times for drugs and spent the majority of his life in and out of treatment centers, away from his three children, but even that was not the breaking point for him.

“The last straw I got a hold of some bad fentanyl, well all of it’s bad, but I mean this was some pure stuff. I didn’t know what I had and I wound up overdosing,” Brown explained.

He wears a shirt saying “fentanyl,” hoping to raise awareness on the dangers of the lethal substance.

“I made through that, you know, I wasn’t supposed to live through that,” added Brown.

RELATED STORY: EBR narcotics deputies investigate more than 150 fentanyl overdoses this year

According to East Baton Rouge Parish EMS, they’ve administered more 1,000 doses of Narcan this year for people who overdosed.

Brown says in the end, he chose to turn his life around for his kids. However, he knows for other addicts, it’s not always easy.

“I can visually see that they may be dealing with addiction, speaking with them,” explained Brown.

Now Brown is working with the “When You Are Ready” campaign, talking with users in the community, showing the living proof that addiction doesn’t have to rule their life.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out and tell somebody because this may be your last chance,” said Brown.

The “When You Are Ready” campaign volunteers check in with addicts around the parish multiple times a week.

The BR Crime Strategist Unit confirmed that the “When You Are Ready” campaign has made progress.

According to the crime unit, “since the beginning of the summer, the ‘hottest’ zip code for overdoses (70816), and one of the most heavily canvassed by When You Are Ready volunteers & Peer Support Specialists, has seen the largest decrease in daily overdose rate when compared to the same time period last year.”

If you know someone suffering from addiction, call 225-788-7788.

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