Washington Court House City Council and various community leaders have developed a plan to start a men’s residential treatment facility in Fayette County after a year-and-a-half of discussions.
Dale Lynch, Washington C.H. City Council chairperson, has been involved with the committee meetings to address heroin, opioid and drug addiction in the community. Lynch said the committee meetings inspired the idea for Faith and Recovery, a focus group that serves to address how to meet the community’s needs for the three stages of detox, treatment, and recovery housing.
“Our main focus has been to set up a men’s treatment center,” said Lynch.
From the outset the committee identified the need for a men’s residential treatment facility in the county. Male addicts seeking help through residential treatment either have to leave the county to find help elsewhere, or will relapse and continue to abuse substances in the cycle of addiction.
“This is a county-wide issue. It crosses many agencies, from law enforcement to health care. The multi-agency work that is going on speaks well of our county that this many groups can get together to solve what is a serious problem. Addiction, it’s a big problem, in the county and the state,” said Lynch.
Lynch said the various community members involved in the Faith and Recovery committee are organization leaders Bambi Baughn, Community Action Commission of Fayette County executive director, Vernon Stanforth, the Fayette County Sheriff, Brian Hottinger, Washington C.H. police chief, and Joseph Denen, Washington C.H. city manager.
“There are three of us from city council serving on the committee. There are two commissioners, Jack DeWeese and Dan Dean,” said Lynch.
He said the committee was formed to be inclusive of as many community members as possible representing the different agencies and people involved with addiction and recovery. Leigh Cannon, Fayette County health commissioner, Whitney Gentry, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce president, as well probation officers, mayors, students, pastors, and a handful of congressmen and their representatives are involved with the committee.
And then there’s Leah Foster, who, said Lynch, “is the person who kind of got all of this started.”
Foster is the Washington C.H. City Council vice chair and her daughter, Lynn Foster, struggled through a heroin addiction. Lynn found herself detoxing in jail, not once, but three times.
The Faith and Recovery group hopes to confront the problem of the heroin and opioid drug epidemic in the community through creating solutions to gaps in treatment and recovery in the area.
“The first stage is detoxing people who have addictions. The detox most often takes place at the jail. We would love to find a center so that the detox does not take place at the jail and we are looking for a way to have detox done that’s not in jail,” said Lynch. “We have a women’s treatment center here in the community. We need a men’s treatment facility and we are working on getting a location for that.”
The committee has proposed to use an old fire department station outside of the city on Robinson Road for the men’s treatment facility location.
“It would be residential treatment. They have to stay there. There are some limits on the number you are allowed to have in one facility, but we would like to handle several men in residential treatment,” said Lynch.
In order to secure the building on Robinson Road, Lynch said there was a little bit of government involved.
“It has to be an agreement between the county, Union Township, and the City of Washington Court House,” said Lynch. “Then the next step is to start getting funding to renovate that building to make it into a treatment center.”
He said they will eventually begin to raise funds for the renovation.
“Part of that will come through grants. We are hoping that this CARA act that just passed, hopefully we can get some funds to make the facility into a treatment center,” said Lynch.
CARA, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, was signed into law last month by President Obama and is the first federal law to allocate federal dollars for addiction recovery and treatment, with an emphasis on rural areas where treatment doesn’t exist.
Creating the men’s residential treatment facility is part of Faith and Recovery’s second stage focus on treatment.
“They would move from detox to treatment and then they would go to recovery housing if they need it,” said Lynch. “The third stage is recovery housing, when they have gone through detox and treatment and they have to have some kind of housing to get them a place where they can go to where they don’t have to return to the drugs.”
He said that some people go through detox and treatment and have homes they can return to. But others don’t.
“Some don’t have a home they can return to without getting back into what caused the addiction in the first place,” said Lynch.
He said that it’s a big problem in the addiction cycle.
“A lot of people start their addictions at home. Either literally the parents get them started or they find prescription drugs, that aren’t even theirs, and they start taking that,” said Lynch.
He said people need to have a place they can go to and live and get a job and work without having to return to where the addiction started.
“Not everybody has that problem. Some people have homes where they can return to but that’s not always the case. Some people need that housing,” said Lynch. “When we talk about Faith and Recovery, that’s what we’re talking about, the three stages.”
Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton
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