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Man Shares Story of Opioid Recovery after Moving to East Tennessee for Treatment

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - On the same day Governor Haslam rolled out a $30 million plan to fight the opioid epidemic in Tennessee, a former opioid addict says the focus on prevention and treatment is crucial.

"It's starting to come to light now, what is really going on," said Drew O'Data.

O'Data was born and raised in Pennsylvania and moved to East Tennessee nearly four years to begin treatment at Cornerstone of Recovery. He says the treatment changed his life for the better.

"I had frequently passed out, or fell out of consciousness. Ended up being fortunate enough to wake up out of it. It's by the grace of God that I'm still alive today," said O'Data.

O'Data said at first, he didn't think he had a problem - until pain medication turned to heroin use and the point where, he says, he "couldn't function without dope."

"I didn't know what to do to stop it. I didn't have the resources, I didn't want to be honest with anybody." said O'Data.

It was only when his family held an intervention did he realize what was at stake.

Now, celebrating four years sober in February, O'Data says East Tennessee was "his clean start."

"I am so grateful," said O'Data, "Even doing the small stuff."

After hearing about Governor Haslam's plan, O'Data says he's hopeful that focus on treatment and prevention can keep others away from what happened to him.

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