Dispatches

Staring Down the Opioid Crisis

The Indiana Harbor Light Center helps the hopeless stand strong.

Harbor Light Center family. "Hope begins with us." 

According to the Department of Justice, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than any year on record and the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involved an opioid. 

The President of the United States has now declared the opioid crisis a National Emergency. This designation will offer State and Federal Agencies more resources to help combat the growing problem.

This National Emergency can be seen all over the United States. In Indiana, a state hit especially hard by this epidemic, trips to the ER due to drug overdoses increased by nearly 60% in a recent five-year period. 

Major Katrina Mathews and Corps Sergeant-Major C. C. gives awards recognizing sober living of two adherents.

The Salvation Army Indiana Harbor Light Center (HLC) and Majors K. Kendall and Katrina Mathews are on the front lines working to combat the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic.

According to Indiana Senator Jim Merritt, the HLC is second only to the government in providing services to the addiction community.  The HLC offers the following five-step recovery process:

  • Detoxification
  • Residential Treatment
  • Transitional Housing
  • Outpatient Treatment and
  • Relapse Prevention

In July 2017, 80% of the HLC graduates were clean and sober at the time of discharge and 72% completed the program employed or with an otherwise promising source of income.

Lt. Robbins celebrates with Victor, who recovered through the center's clinical support and family and community involvement.

These strong results are due, in large part, to the accredited, clinical holistic support received at HLC. Aftercare, with family and community involvement, is another important component crucial to the HLC’S continued success.  The HLC has been successfully aiding addiction recovery since 1949 and boasts and overall 27% success rate.

Victor, a current residential assistant at HLC, is one of many success stories.  When he first arrived at HLC, he had been living a life of addiction, violence and prison. He was tired and hopeless. But today he is full of hope and is helping to bring strength and experience to new clients and those in need of support.

Those fighting on the front lines of this epidemic need more support.  Since the Opioid crisis has now been declared a National Emergency, much needed funds, support and awareness should be heading to Major Mathews and the HLC.  Major Mathews is hopeful for the future, “The people we help today, we see hope in them when their lives are at a hopeless situation.  We see love when they’re unlovable.  We see joy when there is no joy.  We see optimism even if they’re pessimistic.  We can never lose hope.  That’s what drives us—that tomorrow is a new day.”

Source: Major K. Kendall Mathews | Report by: Kimberly Golden, Assistant to the Editorial Director, NHQ

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