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'My dreams are coming true' | Mobile clinic helping Houstonians overcome addiction

UTHealth Houston’s Project INTEGRA is one of five teams in the country studying whether mobile clinics are an effective tool in the fight against opioids.

HOUSTON — New data shows a 15 percent surge in overdose deaths during the pandemic, with a growing number involving the dangerous drug fentanyl.

To combat the issue, UTHealth Houston’s Project INTEGRA is bringing treatment for addiction within reach for people who desperately need it.

“No one wants to talk about it," Frank Williams said. "I was scared to show my scars, but now it’s part of my story."

Williams spent more than nine years on drugs before turning to Project INTEGRA.

“I just remember getting up every morning not wanting to live," Williams said. "Getting up just to chase the high again or not to be sick. I would get up each morning depressed.”

RELATED: CDC releases 'truly staggering' overdose death toll for 2021

One day last year, Williams saw the UTHealth Houston van parked in a grocery store parking lot. He got in line to learn about the program.

“It’s hard to take that step and even harder to stay in that step,” said UTHealth Houston nurse practitioner Qiana Allen.

Allen says her research team offers two options to patients.

They can either receive a 26-week addiction treatment program from the mobile clinic, or the team connects patients with another treatment program.

Project INTEGRA is one of five teams in the country studying whether mobile clinics are an effective tool in the fight against opioids.

RELATED: $12 million in federal funding provided to fight drug trafficking, overdose epidemic in Houston

Williams finally reached out to get treatment after hitting rock bottom and breaking his neck while blacked out.

“I knew God was already there. I needed time away from drugs to re-establish that connection with him. That’s what the RV helped me do,” Williams said.

Now he’s been sober for six months.

“I don’t deserve my life now," Williams said. "My dreams are coming true."

Project INTEGRA is for people looking for long-term recovery from opioid addiction.

For more information, visit their website. You can also request the mobile van come to a certain location.

Stephanie Whitfield on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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