(KFVS) - According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 500,000 Americans admit to having abused heroin in 2014, but a new modern tool is helping fight the growing problem.
A recovering addict from southern Illinois says overcoming addiction is easier when you have a support team.
That's the idea behind a new app: a 10-person support team in the palm of your hand.
"I count my sobriety as January 16th, 2014," said Michael Fredman.
Every day following, Fredman said choosing not to do heroin is a decision he has to make.
"I go to 12 step groups regularly. I have a sponsor in one of those groups and I utilize him. I go to a lot of meetings. I go to about five meetings a week. Before I got my new job back in February I was going to seven a week," he said.
In and out of rehab four times, he said he knows how easy it is to relapse.
"I have worked my butt off to get into a place where I have stability and I love where I am at and I know I am only one drink away, one toke from ruining all of that," said Fredman.
Developers of a new app say their product can help recovering addicts, like Fredman, stay sober.
"To be able to have that technology, where that generation can reach out to other people and let your friends know, 'I'm struggling,' that's an important feature," said app creator Brandi Spraulding.
It's called Squirrel Smart Recovery.
Heroin addicts can set up a ten person support team. It prompts them to rate their mood, urges and stress levels at trigger times throughout the day. It also tracks and rewards sobriety.
In an emergency, it has a one-touch panic button that contacts everyone.
Fredman said he likes the convenience of the app, but knows every road to sobriety is different.
"I've learned from my past," he said.
The app is free and if you would like to see how the Squirrel Smart Recovery app works, click here.