Recovery Advocate Shares Journey to Overcoming Opioid Addiction

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: February 06, 2020 06:58 PM

A Florida man who battled opioid addiction is spreading a message of hope and addressing the opioid epidemic by traveling across the country and sharing his inspiring story. He offered a presentation at Denfeld High School Thursday evening.


Ryan Hampton is a nationally known recovery advocate and author who is empowering people to speak up and demand more support and care for those battling with addiction.

"I had an injury in 2003 which led me down a very long journey of opioid addiction on and off," said Hampton.

Hampton was a political staffer at the White House years ago. He never imagined addiction would take over his life, but it did. He found himself homeless and begging for help.

"Because of access to medicaid and public services I was able to get into recovery," said Hampton.

Now, he is celebrating five years clean. His experience sparked a passion to advocate for more resources and funding to help with addiction.

"We're seeing major spikes in methamphetamine deaths specifically here in the state of Minnesota ravage my community and essentially kill my friends," said Hampton.

The recovery advocate works with nonprofits and recovery advocacy campaigns across the country like Nuway Duluth, to inspire those struggling with addiction.

"A big part of our role is just letting people know that you have choices and you can do this and just empowering the clients and the people that are struggling," said Angela Gilbertson, the program manager for Nuway Duluth.

Nuway Duluth is a counseling center that offers outpatient treatment for addiction and mental health disorders.

"Recovery happens in the community and a great thing about even expanding up to Duluth is we want to be able to provide that community," said Gilbertson.

Hampton's experience also inspired his book, "American Fix" where he shares his personal battle. He also talks about the challenges facing the recovery movement and action needed to overcome the addiction crisis. Hampton said change happens when people make their voices heard.

"The most important thing I can do and other people can do particularly here in Duluth is to engage their policy makers. People need to hear from us and people need to hear our experiences," said Hampton. 

Hampton hopes to inspire people in the Duluth community with his powerful message.

"Because I was able to access services and because I was able to plug into a peer community that was able to support me when I was able to support myself, I was able to make it to the other side," said Hampton. "It requires a little bit of work on that person's behalf but it is absolutely possible. It doesn't have to be an endless tunnel of despair."

To learn more about Hampton, click here.


Alejandra Palacios

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