In 2017, when the opioid crisis was declared in the United States, I realized that I, along with many of my colleagues in the medical community, was a contributor to the epidemic by becoming a link in the supply chain of pharmaceutical companies as I provided my patients the possibility to become addicted to opioids.
I decided to educate myself on the issue through research and courses and was able to see the impact of the fatal consequences of opioid addiction around this country and how it was growing by the day. After surveying the data of my area, Wichita County, and of Texas, I was able to see the disease in our community.
From that moment, I decided that I had to become a catalyst for change and take an approach that would save lives and prevent addiction.
The initial search started on how to create solutions that would give our patients pain management with a better outcome in reference to avoiding opioid use. After talking to professional partners with opioid-free practices, my team and I got on board and set out pursuing the goal of becoming an opioid-free practice by the end of that year. Since then, we have continued to offer our patients alternatives for pain control. We created an opioid-free campaign to create awareness in the community through annual events – sponsored, done and promoted by Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center.
I went to schools, organizations, and youth groups to educate them about the dangers of opioid misuse. Through the campaign of Choose Wichita Falls-Opioid Free we were able to get children and young adults participating in spreading this message as well. This to me was most important, because the youth are our future, and it’s much easier to prevent future abuse, than to rehabilitate someone who has already fallen victim to abuse.
By the end of 2018, we were pleased to receive recognition from the Senate of the State of Texas for our efforts to fight opioid abuse in Wichita County. This proclamation was graciously presented by Senator Craig Estes.
In 2022, after working for two years to become a 501c3, Action Against Opioids (AAO) became an official nonprofit organization. We have an amazing board of directors, trying to keep Wichita County and our surrounding area free of opioid addiction.
– Dr. Sandra Vergara, Founder
Board Of Directors
SueAnn Altman, President
Ashley Thomas, Secretary
John Luig, Treasurer
Dr. Sandra Vergara, Founder
Anne-Marie Williamson, NP