AUSTIN (KXAN) — Trey Wood is putting the final touches on a sober house he built after overcoming addiction himself. It’s called Esperanza House.

Wood took his first pill following knee surgery for a football injury when he was 16.

“The needs that I had to me were legitimate,” he said. “My knees did hurt and I felt like a better person and a stronger person when I was under the influence of opioids.”

Trey Wood said ATCEMS helped him get his life back on track after years of struggling with addiction.

Wood said he stuck with the pills until his early forties.

That’s when he met Capt. Mike Sasser with Austin-Travis County EMS.

“They sat down in my living room, talked to me about my issues,” he said. “There was a level of compassion and understanding from Mike and his team regarding what someone who is physically addicted to opioids is enduring.”

Captain Sasser runs a program that takes a boots-on-the-ground approach to addressing addiction. His team takes notes of all new opioid-related calls and follows up with those patients. If the patients accept help for addiction, medics get them booked into a clinic. Because it can often take at least a week for a spot to open up, medics visit the patients daily – wherever they are – to give them medicine to help with withdrawals, and remind them about the clinic appointment.

“I have enough of an interaction with people to where I get to know them and I hear about it on a regular basis and I stay in contact with them and they let me know they’re doing well,” said Sasser, who added that anyone who thinks they could benefit from this program can reach out to EMS.

He said medics have treated about 260 patients since the program launched in 2020, and more than 90% of them went through with the clinic care.

Wood was one of them, and he hopes the resources he cultivates at Esperanza House can help someone else.

“We’re just human beings with an issue similar to any disease,” he said.