DETROIT (WJBK) - "You can't always look at a person and tell that they are in dire straits."
Before heroin, Myra Pickens was married and had a house. Before the pills and then the heroin addiction, Josh Gilmore was a Detroit firefighter.
"Being in an abandoned house, using drugs with a few other sick addicts," he remembers. "At a point I thought it was the drugs making me happy, until the point where that's all I did was use drugs."
Both of them made a choice to stay clean to stay alive, and to talk it out with therapy and group sessions, to cope and get medical treatment. Both of them are on suboxone, a methadone alternative for opioid addicts.
Tracy Purnell, Executive Director of Quality, says suboxone is absolutely a better alternative than methadone.
Team Wellness Center's just opened a clinic last week on the city's east side, providing suboxone to help people dealing with opioid addiction stay clean.
The Team Wellness Center in the 6300 block of Mack reports suboxone helps decrease opioid cravings and helps people deal with withdrawal, even if it is still an opioid. It is like a piece of paper that melts in the user's mouth.
And, every day, patients can go back to living while using the meds.
"Would you rather have a person taking the medication to help relieve some of the symptoms, or a heroin addict?" asks Purnell. "And we would rather have the person taking suboxone."
And treatment can be the difference between life and death.
Between 2013 and 2015, there were 477 drug-related overdose deaths just in the city of Detroit.
If you are struggling, you can get help from The Team Wellness Center. You can get information from their website here, or by calling 313-331-3435.
Click here for the National Helpline from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (1-800-662-HELP).