Portsmouth rehab facility could benefit from Chillicothe style generosity

The story of a Chillicothe woman handing her life and home over to a local rehab facility has spread all throughout Appalachian Ohio as a high bar in the fight against the wave of opiates affecting the area.

That level of generosity is almost unheard of, but there area a lot of people in drug infested communities people can do to help out.

U.S. Route 23 connects Chillicothe to Portsmouth and many locals label that stretch a major drug trafficking highway.

In fact, Scioto County Ohio topped the list of all Ohio counties in babies born addicted to drugs, according to a 2016 report from the Ohio Children's Defense Fund.

Caring for those babies born addicted and fighting to get the mothers clean is The Counseling Center in Portsmouth.

"It's a scary journey," said Kathy Newman, one of the center's counselors.

Newman is one of The Counseling Center's most inspiring successes. Today her three kids are her life.

Five years ago drugs took that mantle, invading every aspect of her day.

"I just knew that my life was so unmanageable and miserable that I couldn't continue doing what I was doing," Newman said, "My oldest son went through addiction with me."

Her son Sammy was born addicted in 2007.

Newman came to The Counseling Centers four years later and, in recovery, found out she was soon going to welcome Jaxan into the world.

He was born clean, and Reagan has never known an addicted mother.

"I went through stepping stone's house and learned how to be a mom. I went into transitional and learned to be independent," she said.

Newman said The Counseling Center helped her stay clean through its long term support and evidence based recovery programs.

Counseling Director Mary Irwin said they don't call the addicts addicts, they're clients with an illness.

"We don't see the clients as a menace to society," Irwin said, "We see an individual with a chronic illness. We are in the helping field, and want to help them."

The program leads the addict through treatment, then pushes them toward housing, jobs, and repairing their family relationships.

"There are many successes," Irwin said.

It's a tall task for any group to help rebuild someone's life from scratch, so when Irwin and Newman heard the story of a Chillicothe woman, Cheryl Beverly, handing her home and life over to help addicts get clean they're shocked.

"It would be a rare person who would do that," Irwin said.

They'd never expect someone in the Portsmouth community to step up and offer the same thing, but there are a myriad of things community members can do to lend them a hand.

The first starts before someone ever needs treatment.

"It might start in your own home," Irwin said, "Teaching your children, talking with your family members."

Active prevention in the house is the most effective way to avoid these problems altogether, but they're not always effective.

Addicts can come from the most obscure places.

It happened to Kathy Newman.

"No one is safe," She said, "I grew up in a very normal family. My parents didn't use. I was a straight A student."

Volunteer services are basically off the table at The Counseling Centers as former addicts fill the role of cleaning, food service, and counselors.

What they really need is donations.

From larger items like strollers and play pens to little items like baby coats, shoes, bottles, and pacifiers, there's always a need at rehab.

"Those little insignificant things to a normal person mean tremendous things to a recovering addict," Newman said.

She said that's because expecting mothers with an addiction have nothing to provide for their little baby, a major stress for the recovering addict.

Newman said little donations can be the difference between sobriety and relapse.

"I didn't need any extra stress. I needed to focus on staying clean and getting my baby here healthy and clean," she said.

Both Newman and Irwin said people of all walks of life can no longer sit back and watch the wave of opiates destroy communities.

Whether through direct addiction, a raise in crime rates, or government dollars going to fight addiction, the problem affects everyone.

"The solution is to be helpful," Irwin said, "judging will not help them."

Irwin said when people step forward to help they need to do so with an open mind.

She said a helping hand is freedom.

Inaction or shaming may lead the addict further into the cycle of addiction.

"If we focus on tearing these people down, you could be sentencing them to death," Newman said.

You can contact The Counseling Centers on their website here.

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