Uintah beauty queen plans to open rehab center

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DRAPER — Caitlin Woods is a beauty queen with a cause, and it's not world peace.

She travels the state visiting with those suffering from drug and alcohol addictions and is preparing to open a drug treatment facility with her family.

Woods looks like a typical pageant winner and has the tiara and sash to prove it. She said she entered the Ms. Uintah Pageant for the scholarship money but discovered her platform when she began seeing a disturbing trend around her town.

"It just happened in our community all the time, and I don't want it to happen anymore,” she said.

She says too many people she cared about were losing their lives to addiction, so she decided to run under the platform of living an addiction-free life.

The platform hit really close to home when her father began his own battle fighting addiction.

"He started drinking, just behind the scenes," said Caitlin's mother, Tressa Woods.

But the family found limited rehab options in Eastern Utah.

"There was nothing. We had to come out here to the Wasatch Front," Tressa said.

She said they would often make the three-hour drive to visit him regularly, and he's on the path to recovery.

"(It was) the most amazing experience. We felt such a bond with everyone else in rehab," Tressa said.

Through the recovery program they met Ann Johnson. Johnson’s granddaughter was from a small town in Eastern Utah, and Johnson said help came too late for her.

"The heroin and the cold medicines, that's what killed her. The combination of the drugs," Johnson said.

She believes if her granddaughter found a treatment option closer to home, the outcome could have been different.

"Oh, it would have helped immensely," Johnson said.

Together, Johnson and the Woods family came up with a plan to create an addiction recovery center in Vernal.

"We thought, are we going to do this? Everything started falling into place," Tressa said.

While the plans for the center are being finalized, Caitlin continues to travel around the state reaching out to those suffering.

"I just don't think that people should feel worthless with those addictions," Caitlin said.


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Ashley Kewish


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