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From addict to advocate: How Eric Spofford is battling the opioid epidemic

Eric Spofford,CEO of Spofford Enterprises

Recovered drug addict turned successful entrepreneur Eric Spofford is the founder of Granite Recovery Centers, one of the largest substance abuse treatment facilities on the East Coast. Having experienced first-hand the dangers of the opioid crisis, Spofford has dedicated his career to helping others just like him and advocating for awareness, prevention, and treatment of substance abuse. 

According to data from the Addiction Center, around 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. That’s a statistic Spofford is working to change. Granite Recovery Centers treats patients through Recovery Education and Skills Training (R.E.S.T.), a comprehensive lecture, discussion, and action-based curriculum developed by integrating time-test 12 step principles with evidence-based clinical practices and personal experiences of recovered addicts. 

“Treatment availability is incredibly important. If we can support addicts from being in active addiction to getting into the recovery process, we will start to gain traction on this epidemic,” explains Spofford. “Providing treatment for people with this disease is far less expensive than incarcerating them and so much more effective. Putting addicts in prison and expecting them to be different when they get out is of the same mentality as locking up a diabetic and expecting them to not have diabetes when released. The disease of addiction does not respond to punishment.”

Spofford himself is a prime example of the power of treatment. At 21-years-old, he was fifty pounds overweight, homeless, committing crimes to fund his addiction, and believed his only future involved prison or death. Today he is the CEO of Spofford Enterprises where he focuses on venture capital investments, real estate development, asset-based lending and entrepreneurial coaching. Since entering recovery, he has been named as the 2018 Young Entrepreneur of the Year, testified to the United States Senate, is a renowned national speaker, and continues to help those affected by drug addiction as well as their families. “From the moment I discovered recovery, and the message that promised me the hope I did not have to die from this disease, I knew I wanted to dedicate my life’s work to helping others recover,” he says. 

Above and beyond treatment, Spofford advocates three ways to battle this epidemic. The first is harsher punishment for drug dealers and traffickers. “Creating harder sentencing laws for the distribution and trafficking of fentanyl is incredibly important. This drug is a serial killer and so are the people selling it. They see the carnage it creates and keep selling it despite how many people are dying,” he says. 

The second is ensuring widespread availability of naloxone, the life-saving overdose reversal drug. “The symptoms of the disease of addiction are ugly and make addicts hard people to like. But the question we need to ask ourselves is, do they deserve to die because of their disease?” he asks. “I overdosed 5 times and was revived with this drug. Without it, I would be dead and my life would have never had any meaning.”

And finally, there need to be better prevention systems placed in schools. “Young people experimenting with drugs is nothing new. What is new is that heroin is available to them and will change their lives forever without them even knowing it,” he says.  “We need to educate our children on the truth of opiates and the effects it will have on them and their peers.”

Granite Recovery Centres consists of Green Mountain Treatment Center, the flagship primary residential drug rehab facility for men and women located in Effingham, NH; The Granite House, a residential drug rehab facility for men and women in Derry, NH; and New Freedom Academy Behavioral Health, a 20-bed facility located in Canterbury, NH. To find out more information, please visit their respective websites or call 855.712.7784.

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