Losing A Daughter To Opioids: One Woman's Story

Nov 2, 2017

Dani Tillman in her office at The Life Change Center.

Dani Tillman is a substance abuse counselor with The Life Change Center in Sparks. She spent her career helping other people battle addiction, but it became personal several years ago when her daughter, Brittany, was battling an opioid addiction. Tillman recalls the challenges Brittany faced trying to stay clean after relapse prevention treatment.

Using opioids causes the brain to release dopamine and encourage more drug use. Tillman says overcoming addiction is difficult, and can be especially challenging for young people like her daughter.

“The draw of the opiate and the way that it attaches to the receptors in the brain and the things that are happening up here along with the fact that they’re 10 to 24 years old and their brain is still developing," Tillman explains, "they just can’t battle it.”

About one person dies each day in Nevada from an opioid-related overdose. Dani Tillman currently advocates for Medication-Assisted Treatment, which combines behavioral therapy and mediction.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that it’s critical to expand access to evidence-based treatments to help people battling addiction. Effective treatments includes medication-assisted therapy (MAT). MAT uses medication like methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone in combination with counseling to treat opioid addiction.