MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -- Partnership for a Drug-Free Community announced a new program to help people with substance abuse issues to find help.
The Recovery Resource Hub aims to make it easier for people to find treatment and recovery resources while reducing the number of overdose deaths in the community.
Overdose-related deaths may be on the rise, according to Madison County Coroner Tyler Berryhill. In 2016, 61 people died of an overdose in the county. By 2019, Berryhill says there were 82 potential overdose deaths, with 49 confirmed.
The Partnership's interim executive director, Wendy Reeves said the Hub has three main goals:
- Helping people find the treatment they need for substance abuse disorder
- Reducing the number of overdoses and deaths in the community
- Impacting the economy in a positive way because people are employed while in recovery
Many families looking to get help for their loved ones are unable to because of the complexity of the system.
"Does he need an assessment," asked Reeves. "If so, when and where can it be done? Does he need detox? If so, that detox must happen before he can enter a treatment facility. How do you know what kind of facility he needs and for how long? Even if all the insurance and monetary issues line up, you find there are no beds immediately available."
When Denise Spiller was looking for help for her son Austin, she says she looked everywhere she knew. "I called military one-stop, I called VA, I called everywhere possible, or so I thought at that time but there was no help out there."
Jean Matthews tried to get Joshua into rehabilitation several times. "We tried again to get into that rehab and he had to wait a year," said Matthews. "He told me 'I won't be alive if I have to wait a year.' And he wasn't."
Madison County Sheriff's Office, Madison Police Department, and Huntsville Police Department say they all agree this program is necessary.
"We can get treatment for some of these people and quit putting them into Sheriff Turner's treatment facility which is better known as the Madison County Metro Jail," said Chief Mark McMurray with Huntsville Police Department.
Sheriff Kevin Turner with the Madison County Sheriff's Department says jail time does not always rehabilitate addicts. "They don't stop just because we put them in jail," said Turner. "They don't stop when our officers are out here working the street. A lot of these kids want to ask for help."
The Recovery Resource Hub will begin on February 3, 2020. It will also utilize a statewide helpline that can be reached at (844) 307-1760, and is available 24/7.