Sean Roberts and Gary Gamboa have seen hundreds of clients since opening Desert Mountain Healing, a drug and alcohol addiction treatment operation, in April 2022.

One of those patients, Elyssa Hilton, attended the Jan. 24 Sandoval County Commission meeting to share her success and thank District 2 Commissioner Jay Block for sponsoring the cost of her treatment with some of his discretionary funds.

Hilton, a 34-year-old nursing student, had been addicted to heroin for four years. At the Jan. 24 meeting, Hilton thanked Gamboa, Roberts and Block and announced she has been clean for eight months.

Desert Mountain, located next to Elevate on Southern Blvd., is an intensive outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program. It’s an alternative to inpatient that typically offers nine hours of treatment per week.

“The treatment center has been a very helpful thing for my life. I’m sober now for over eight months and I’m nursing student and I am also having a great life and moving on with my life,” Hilton said. “This treatment center has also helped many other people like me. Most of what I’ve been hearing from other patients is that they’ve been to a 30-day or 60-day center. Desert Mountain and the things that they do with therapy, the doctor that works with them and the other areas, they really want to help us in every way possible instead of just getting us clean for seven days and sending us like orphans out in the world. They give us tools for coping with childhood trauma, PTSD, things of that nature. So I just want to thank you, Mr. Block, for financially sponsoring me and giving me a chance.”

Gamboa made a presentation at the June 28 Sandoval County Commission meeting to explain what Desert Mountain Healing does for the community and ask for help for funding to expand the services offered.

“I’m not sure what exactly funding would look like, but, obviously, the more people we can get through the program, the better it benefits the community,” Gamboa said. “One in 10 people who want to get help are not able to get in a rehab. For whatever reason, you know, there’s a million different reasons, there’s no space. We get calls every day from all over the city that Albuquerque and Farmington, that nobody has space. I just want to help people get get sober and get clean. A regular walk-in client is there for 30 days; that 30-day stint is about $1,000 in cost. I guess my ask would be to consider funding for Desert Mountain so we can reach more clients out there that are addicted to drugs and alcohol.”

Block visited the team and clients at Desert Mountain in July and gave $7,000 from his discretionary funds to the IOP.

“I just want to thank Elyssa again for being here. I mean, that was just a highlight of the entire meeting and hearing your story,” Block said. “And I want to really thank you for that. And you know, we hope and we pray for you to continue down the road of sobriety and the happy life. That’s all we want for you.”

Block was emotional at the meeting on Jan. 24 as he saw results of his funding.

“When you help somebody, you see them in person,  it hits you harder. It means so much more when you can talk to her and and you’re looking at her,  you’re hearing her story and you see just how happy she is to be off the drugs. She is going on to do some good things with her life. That makes me very happy that could play a small part in that.”

Block also announced he will be giving another $7,000 to Desert Mountain.

“I want to thank Elyssa and Desert Mountain Healing for all the great work you do,” Block said. “I’m so excited to fund another one, and I would ask my fellow commissioners, if they would just step up and just give seven grand to help another person to change a life. If we could just change one life as elected officials, you know what, we’ve kind of done our job and there’s a lot of people that need help out there.”