TUCSON, Ariz. - The latest data on opioid overdoses in Arizona are showing the highest number of deaths in 10 years.
For many, the toughest decision is to find professional help. Thousands of recovering addicts in Southern Arizona are sharing the battle towards recovery.
One of those is Robert Lyles, who remembers the moment he almost lost his life.
"I remember so well, the doctor and the paramedics yelling you're losing him, you're losing him," Lyles said.
He said it is a moment he will never forget. Being rushed through the double doors at Northwest Hospital, he said, was the day God gave him a second chance to live.
"(The doctor) said, 'You had 30 days top, 45 you would have been dead for sure,'" he said.
That was back in 2007, after being involved in a car crash and suffering a neck and foot injury. Lyles said his doctor prescribed Percocet and Ativan to treat the pain, the beginning of the end for him, Lyles stated. That's because one day his daily dose wasn't enough to end the pain.
"I'll take another Percocet, and when I did, I liked the feeling and from that point forward, I started increasing my drug intake," he added.
After that, the rest of the year became a blur, he said. His life began closing down on him, divorcing his wife, and losing communication with his only son. Until a serious conversation with his doctor convinced him to seek professional help: "He told me you need to go back and listen to them and so I did," he explained.
Ever since, Lyler said he has been the best student at Sierra Tucson, where he has been focusing on his recovery, and most importantly staying clean for nearly 10 years.
He also wants to make sure other patients find the courage to recover. He hopes to pass along a very important message, "take care of yourself first and the world around you will change," he said.