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Opioid abuse treatment difficult to find in El Paso

Texas Tech professors teaching students how to combat opioid epidemic. (File photo)

Emergence Health Network helps as many opioid users as it can.

"They can come to get help," Elizabeth Zarate, with Emergence Health Network, said. "Our program exists here for the community."

The group has limited funding from the state. Zarate said they requested enough grant money to treat 50-60 people, but got barely a fraction of that.

"We only have eight slots, which we are already full. We are pending another four from the state," she said.

Emergence has a waiting list for people wanting the medication and counseling they provide.

"It's a bigger problem than most of the community is aware of," she said.

The cost of treatment is another issue, according to Dr. Carroll Wayne Thornburg.

"We have a lot of people who want services, but they just don't have the financial resources to get the services," Thornburg said.

He said medication alone can cost thousands of dollars.

"It's an issue in the city," Thornburg said. "There seem to be some concepts that it's not a problem, but it is."

Zarate said if they can get more state or federal funding, they can help more people.

"Eight is nothing compared to the clients we get here on a daily basis," she said.

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