RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — For most people, a shot at long-lasting addiction recovery, is too expensive to be in reach.

It’s part of the reason why on average, four Virginians die of an opioid overdose every day. Additionally, it’s estimated half a million Virginia adults have a substance use disorder.

Staggering statics like those are what why Richmond resident, Melissa Trinidad, says landing in a jail cell was the best thing that happened to her.

“I had been in and out of jail for the last nine or ten years and I thought I had it several times,” said Trinidad. “Finally, I got into a jail that they offered something that I could take a look at myself and work on myself while I had no other choice and no other distractions.”

The WAITT program led Trinidad to the non-profit Real Life after her release. She received treatment at no cost until she felt solid in her sobriety.

“We’re doing this for years, a lot of us, you know, and so those behaviors take a while to, you know, you have to learn to live different,” said Trinidad. “And, you know, a lot of times 30, 60, 90 days, some people will get it. But for most of us, it takes longer than that.”

These recovery programs depend on federal, state and city funding as well as donations from non-profits, including 2 End the Stigma.

2 End the Stigma was started by Jill Cichowicz in honor of her twin brother Scott, who died from a fentanyl overdose in 2017. Her organization’s fundraising events help raise money and its partnerships help raise awareness, especially for loved ones of those battling addiction.

“Love Means No” was produced as a partnership between 2 End the Stigma and Real Life to better educated loved ones on what enabling addiction looks like.

2 End the Stigma, in turn, depends on the support of the community to help fund programs like Real Life and provide treatment scholarships to those who can’t afford longer-term treatment options. 

(Courtesy of 2 End the Stigma)

8News is sponsoring 2 End the Stigma’s next event, Fairways for Scott, with 8News anchor Deanna Allbrittin serving as a special guest on the green. Organizers are still looking for additional sponsors and other donations to help support recovery across Central Virginia.