Group helps drug addicts with nowhere left to turn - New York News

Group helps drug addicts with nowhere left to turn

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PHOENIX -

It may be the one thing that saves a drug addict or alcoholic -- an intervention -- convincing them to get help in rehab.

It's usually done by family or friends in private. It's even been done on reality TV. And now we found a group doing interventions in an unlikely place -- the streets of Phoenix.

We asked former drug addict Clint Richards: "What would you say to someone who says, you're crazy you're going out here approaching strangers who have an addiction?"

"I've done that my whole life. I spent my whole life out here approaching strangers, looking for drugs. That's my element."

The streets of Phoenix are his former home.

"I was out here five years ago and I was struggling with crack addiction."

A drug addiction so powerful it consumed him. It gripped him, gripped his three colleagues, and left them with just two choices -- jail or death.

"I'm Clint Richards I've been struggling with addiction for about 15 years now."

"I'm Jymm Wilborn I'm 38 years old I've struggled with addiction for 26 years now… got to a point where I was robbing pharmacies to support my habit. It took me looking at 5 to 50 years at Joliet penitentiary to get my attention."

"I'm Tommy Schultz I've struggled with addiction since I was a heroin addict back in 1972… I was tired of killing my family -- yeah I was tired of hurting my family and where we come from. They say you have to do it for yourself but not hurting my family anymore made me feel good."

"I'm Holly From and I struggled with a meth addiction for nine months."

Now sober, they're on a mission. To do interventions on those who have no one else but strangers to turn to.

"There was an intervention on my life, through my sister that got me put into treatment, and I just started thinking about what about all the people out here that don't have anybody that don't have any family members anymore," says Richards.

They call themselves "Last Chance Intervention." They offer a place to stay and get drug treatment.

They use an RV to transport recruits to a small halfway house they own up in Prescott.

"I think that's what makes us good at what we do is that it's not unfamiliar for us to be out here."

Our cameras are there as they hit the streets bright and early, starting at 7th Avenue and Van Buren. Their goal today isn't to recruit a lot of people -- it's to find just one.

"When we come down to a place like this we're looking for someone who's done. It's not too hard to tell when they're done or not," says Schultz.

"Our stories are all different but the pain, struggles and suffering are all the same," says Wilborn.

They get a lot of no's. A lot of people who claim they're not on drugs. They get asked for money.

But it's all worth it. Because after hours of walking, they find a woman, 31 years old and homeless with a heroin problem. She admits to them she just got high.

"It was about 30 minutes ago I did a half a dime," she says. "I brought my habit down from two and a half three grams a month ago."

She asked we not identify her because she doesn't want her family to know where she's been living.

"She's been living on the streets for seven and a half months, she's out here roughing it," says Richards.

She tells them she's been trying to get help, but was put on a waiting list. After several minutes of talking, she agrees to leave with them.

"I got to say bye to my kids."

Her kids are 12, 13, and 14 years old.

"She definitely seemed hesitant but it was really clear something was in her that was going to give her some willingness," says Richards. "I think she had just had enough and that's all it takes."

So it's back on the road. The journey to recovery for this woman is just beginning.

"We're giving people an opportunity they might not ever have. An opportunity to avoid prison, avoid death, avoid a terrible life, I really think we're doing the right thing."

Last Chance Intervention is a new project. Right now they only have the space and funds to help a few people. They hope to eventually partner with other organizations so they can expand to a bigger house and other cities.

One organization that has played a big role in supporting Last Chance Intervention is the Oasis Recovery Center in Prescott at (928) 533-2887.

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