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Letter to the Editor: Reducing likelihood of relapse

 

I hope that Kentucky Baptists do not write off the heroin addicts.

In terms of the heroin overdose epidemic, the time after the heroin/opiate detox is a large roadblock in the addict’s way to continuing sobriety. I think Kentucky Baptists could effectively minister and love in Jesus’s name to recovering addicts by sponsoring and facilitating the creation of more sober living and halfway houses across the state.

As a clinical social worker, I have seen repeat heroin detox admissions. Detox services are available as insurance and Medicaid pays for them (assuming the person meets admission criteria), but inpatient detox only lasts three to five days. Some 20-30 day residential treatment is also available as Medicaid pays for it, too. But detox and residential are not enough for many to avoid relapse.

After detox and residential stays, many detoxed addicts still need somewhere to go to further sobriety. Many of them have criminal convictions that impede getting good jobs to afford a decent place to live. Families and former friends have cut them off and will not help them due to the typical stealing to pay for drugs. If the regular world is rejecting them, they go back to where they get some kind of acceptance, and that is from those they have used drugs with, and maybe the dealer who both appreciates and encourages their repeat business.

Halfway and sober living houses offer recovering addicts a place to go to further the new, but fragile sober chapter of life and reduce the likelihood of relapse. I hope Kentucky Baptists can cooperate in their local communities across the state to create more of them to help fight the heroin epidemic.

David Houvenagle

Louisville

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