Overcoming the grip of opioid dependence

Sep 9, 2023, 7:29 PM | Updated: 7:29 pm

HEBER CITY, Utah – For Tami Bellefeuille, pain is an adversary and a teacher.

“We can’t always have the easy way out,” said the Heber City mom. “I knew if I was tougher on the pain, then the pain wouldn’t be so tough on me.”

Bellefeuille is a former firefighter from Illinois, who served in the Navy. She’s had back issues and pain for over 20 years, but now she’s built a plan centered around mindfulness.

“Learning how to look at pain differently,” she said. “How can I solve it without taking medicine? I could lose a few pounds, or I could stretch or do yoga.”

Tami Bellefeuille photo of her in the Navy. (Courtesy: Tami Bellefeuille)

Bellefeuille has recently been enrolled in Intermountain Health’s pain management program in Heber City. She works closely with physician assistant Troy Johnson, PA-C.

The pain program stresses alternative treatments and psychology to minimize the use of opioids. Some of those treatments include mindfulness training, yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy and medical nutrition counseling.

“Making shifts in lifestyle patterns can change your whole metabolism, your perception of pain,” Johnson said. “We have pain psychologists that help people with cognitive behavioral therapy or talking about other coping mechanisms.”

Tami Bellefeuille and Troy Johnson. (Ken Fall/KSL TV)

Bellefeuille has taken advantage of the help the pain program has offered.

“Instead of the pain controlling me, I had to get on top of the pain,” she said. “Learning the psychology of how pain works. And how my thinking affected my pain.”

About 100 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain. That is 1 in 3, more than stroke, heart disease, or cancer combined.

Since 2017, Intermountain Health has worked to change opioid prescribing quantities and potency. Intermountain Health says over 13 million fewer opioid tablets have been prescribed since 2017.

To learn more about alternative pain treatment options, visit Intermountain Live Well Center.

KSL 5 TV Live

Your Life Your Health

Is there a “best time” to exercise? A recent study clocks in with an answer.  But, what about y...

Ken Fall

Is there a ‘best time’ to exercise?

A new study suggests exercise in the morning may help with weight loss.

2 days ago

Jennifer and Mike Roe apartment...

Ken Fall

As fall begins, look inside the house to avoid dangerous falls

National Fall Prevention week coincides with the beginning of autumn. It’s the best time to ensure your loved ones are safe in their home.

9 days ago


Ken Fall

Proper nutrition will help your child reach their academic peak

Make sure your kids are well fueled for those busy school days - dieticians say they need it!

17 days ago

Man stands in a speeding boat...

Ken Fall

Boat Exhaust: Be aware of this silent killer

Carbon monoxide poisoning may be rare on Utah waterways, but the potential risk can be deadly.

30 days ago

Jessica Leon prepares a meal with her daughters...

Peter Rosen

Intermountain Health Heart Transplant Program: 600 stories

Discover how Intermountain Health's heart transplant teamwork brings hope and improved outcomes. Learn about patient stories and medical success.

1 month ago

Dr. Benz Pimsakul had his cholesterol screened during a regular check up. He believes it's one of t...

Ken Fall

Don’t delay: Everyone in your family needs a checkup

Back to school time might be the best time to get the entire family important checkups.

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

rodeo contestant on a saddle bronc...


Get Ready for the Days of ‘47 Rodeo!

The Days of '47 Rodeo is a series of events everyone in the family can enjoy, with world-class rodeo contestants vying for the gold medal.

Electric LED Lightbulb Change In Light At Home...

Lighting Design

How to Know When to Upgrade Your Lighting

This guide explores indicators that suggest it’s time for a lighting upgrade with tips to make an informed decision when you’re ready to buy. 

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Overcoming the grip of opioid dependence