Dr. Matthew Tatum Featured on Eyewitness News, KBAK

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Airing on Eyewitness News, KBAK, this interview with First Steps Recovery’s director, Dr. Matthew Tatum, gives insight on the opioid epidemic. The current crisis is affecting individuals across the country , and First Steps Recovery offers quality drug and alcohol detox as well as residential treatment (rehab) to help people find lasting recovery.

Full Video Transcription:

Opioid Crisis in California’s Central Valley

Erin Briscoe: Welcome back to health alert we’ve been

hearing a lot about the opioid crisis

and talking about it in the US and

actually happening here in our own backyard

but that is not the only addiction

happening, and here to talk about the

help that’s available and of course what

families can do today is Dr. Matthew

Tatum who is the executive director at

first steps recovery in Clovis. Dr. Tatum

thank you so much for being on our show

you know and the reason why I mentioned

opioid addiction first because that is

something that’s been making headlines

now right we’ve been hearing an opioid

epidemic so what is exactly does that


Matthew Tatum: Yeah epidemic just means it’s a very

wide spread it’s a huge problem so the

Center for Disease Control actually just

released 2016 data on opioid-related

overdoses and what that data has shown

us is a 26 percent increase in opioid

related deaths in the nation and so now

we’re up to over 42,000 opioid related

deaths a country which has now surpassed

the AIDS epidemic when it was at its


Briscoe: And when we talk about opioids

what is that? is that the the prescribed


Tatum: It can be it’s kind of a

classification of drugs so it can be any

of the prescription pain pills but it

also includes heroin and things like


Briscoe: Okay and why do you think that

number has gone up so much?

Tatum: there’s lots of discussion about that the use of

prescription pain pills by physicians

but also the advent of synthetic opiates

as well things like synthetic fentanyl

and things like that become very popular

on the streets.

Briscoe: Okay. Well other than opioid which is what we

you know we keep hearing about but

there’s other things happening right

there’s heroin alcohol affecting the San

Joaquin Valley right

Tatum: Definitely yeah. If you grew up in the valley like I did

you hear a lot about methamphetamine you

hear people say that the San Joaquin

Valley is you know the largest producer

of methamphetamine in the entire world

and actually according to the DEA 80% of

the world’s methamphetamine is produced

here in the valley and one third of drug

users in the valley are methamphetamine

users, but at first ups recovery we see

not only methamphetamine as people’s

drug of choice but alcohol abuse,

prescription pain pills, heroin things of that


Briscoe: And do a lot of these drugs or

even alcohol does it go hand in hand you

know someone who maybe starts you know

here might you know have multiple


Tatum: Yeah a lot of times people

will sort of use whatever they can get

their hands on. We do see people that

stick just to pain pills you do see

people that stick just to alcohol and

then you see people that are using a lot

of combinations which actually can be

more lethal when people are combining

things like opiates and alcohol and


Briscoe: Oh wow okay so First Steps Recovery

this is what you guys

deal with right it’s a little bit

different we’re talking about it’s not

your typical hospital setting.

Tatum: Yeah we’re

a small residential setting by

residential where we’re actually in a

home in the foothills and so we serve a

smaller number of people so we have

really individualized care smaller group

sizes a very warm atmosphere but that

being said we’re also on the leading

edge of all neuro-scientific research. We

have people all over the world

conducting studies on how addiction

affects the brain, and so we take that

research and we boil it down to the

treatment setting and we say how can we

help this individual based on what we

know about addiction in the brain in

this treatment setting and so we apply

that research in order to help them heal

their brains.

Briscoe: Wow okay I want to touch

right now with family and friends, so if

someone is seeing signs that their loved

one is you know possibly addicted to you

know drugs or even alcohol what is it

what is the one thing they can do or how

do you approach that situation?

Tatum: That’s a really good question if you watch

popular TV shows they will tell you to

threaten your loved one in order to get

them to comply with your request to go

to treatment and while that’s really

good television it’s not helping people

get what they need, which is professional

help, so I would first say stop

threatening the addicts in your life and

start loving them. Now we need to

communicate our care and concern for

them and set firm limits and boundaries

but we also need to let them know that

we love them and that we’re there for

them no matter what and that’s a really tough balance

to find but when you speak to the right

people you can get help in finding that

balance and what that looks like for the

loved one in your life.

Briscoe: Okay you’re right

you know you see that you do see that

threatening all up and it’s it’s TV

again right not real life or semi real

life First Steps Recovery so if you want

that information if you are a family

member right now or have a friend and

you want to get that info you can call

but here’s all the information on your

screen right now there is a 24 hour

hotline there’s firststepsrecovery.com again this is in Clovis you can get

all that information by contacting them.

Dr. Tatum thank you so much for being on

this show because this is such an

important topic that you know sometimes

we just we talk about it quickly but

don’t you know go into depth and really

talk about the issue affecting the

valley. Thank you we’ll be

right back.

If you or a loved one are need treatment for an addiction, call First Steps Recovery today: 1-844-489-0836.


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