Grand Canyon University nurses training with opioid addicts

Posted at 6:31 AM, Jun 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-15 09:31:57-04

Grand Canyon University is training the next generation of nursing students for a multi-generational crisis.

They have partnered with Crossroads, a substance abuse treatment facility, to give students a chance to work with people from different backgrounds.

Not only is it a learning process, but it is helping to break down stereotypes and stigmas surrounding things like opioid abuse.

RELATED: What's changed in year since declaring opioid crisis? 

"We're doing these health assessments to make sure they can even survive in the first place," explained Tomas Salas. Salas is one of the nursing students that has been examining people who first arrive for help. 

"Sometimes you get guys that come in, like 'Hey, when was your last health assessment?' 'Whew. I don't know.'" 

A health assessment is mandated by the Arizona Department of Health Services for anyone entering treatment within seven days.

This partnership between Crossroads and GCU allows the facility to fill that requirement at little to no cost to them. 

ABC15 talked to one addict who is now a current Crossroads employee.

He said he knows how important that process is first-hand. 

"I didn't see too much of a doctor when I was using," he explained. "So, to come in here and get a clean bill of health...and find out that I'm okay and I do have a future."

Salas has been able to see a different future for other addicts as he said this program has given him a new perspective on addiction. 

"Not everybody coming in is a bad person," Salas said. "Maybe it was that one bad day that got them there."