Chris Evans endured three heart surgeries before finding a successful recovery treatment for his addiction to opioid drugs and heroin.

Now four years sober, Evans shared his story with a room of community members gathered at Cornerstone Church who serve as stakeholders in preventing the growth of opioid addiction in Sheridan.

Evans’ addiction started with a desire to fit in with family members who were addicted to codeine.

The dislike for the taste eventually dissipated and he moved from codeine to pills and eventually heroin. Without the drugs, Evans struggled to function.

“Opiates were a top priority,” Evans said. “Otherwise I was sick and I couldn’t function. The pull of opiates on the brain and the body is incredible.”

Eventually Evans enrolled in a joint Suboxone program between Dr. Jason Ackerman with Big Horn Mountain Medicine and the Northern Wyoming Mental Health Center established in August 2017. The program, made possible through $179,284 of funding from the Opioid State Targeted Response Grant, combines medical and psychosocial treatment. Dr. Jason Ackerman, who Evans now works with as an addiction mentor for the program, prescribes patients Suboxone, which is a mix of buprenorphine and naloxone that helps physically treat opioid dependence.