Several methods are available to fight addiction

Published 7:00 am Thursday, April 26, 2018

According to previous coverage, the Picayune Board of Supervisors recently decided use an existing ordinance to prevent establishment of a drug addiction center outside of Picayune.

Developers of the facility said  the center would have provided additional support for the local community, but members of the Board disagreed.

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However, there are other programs across Pearl River County available to those struggling with drug addiction.

The local Gulf Coast Mental Health Center is the only local rehabilitation clinic verified by the Mississippi Department of Health. The clinic is part of a larger body of clinics, which provide care to residents of Hancock, Harrison, Pearl River and Stone counties.

County Director Rebecca Law said the clinic in Picayune provides post-treatment care for those who have gone to a 30-day treatment facility. If a patient is able to verify that they have completed a previous 30-day program, Picayune’s Gulf Coast Mental Health Center will provide one year of aftercare treatment, Law said.

If a person is in need of intensive rehabilitative care, Law usually recommends the GCMHC’s Crossroads Recovery Center in Gulfport. If a person cannot find a way to the recovery center, Law said other options exist.

Jacob’s Well and Damascus Road are two rehabilitation centers in Poplarville that provide a six-month low cost rehab service. Jacob’s Well is only for women, while Damascus Road is only for men. Each program uses a Christian-based work and worship approach in the rehabilitation process.

Jacob’s Well Director Joann Graham said the purpose of the program is to prepare women to live a stable life in society.

“I like to use the word ‘recovery,’” Graham said. “We try to get them to recover who they really are and who they are meant to be.”

Graham said there is an application and interview process for those who want to enter the program. The associated costs are typically about $500 per month, but Graham said they usually try to find sponsors for at least 20 percent of the available beds.

Damascus Road operates a similar program under the umbrella of Jacob’s Well. Clarence Tilghman, one of the program’s directors, said they focus on providing daily structure to the residents. Each day entails a strict schedule. 

Tilghman said the program takes men in and teaches them not only how to overcome addiction, but also how to become a leader. By the end of the program, each resident will have written a life summary, self-autopsy, forgiveness letters and an exit plan, Tilghman said.

“We see a lot of lives changed. We run a 60 percent success rate,” he said. “It will be the hardest thing they’ve ever done, but it’ll be the best thing they’ve ever done.”

Tilghman said the program has helped restore families,  given participants their lives back and often helped get charges dropped.

The two closest hospitals, which offer detox services, are Gulf Oaks Hospital in Biloxi and South Central Regional Medical Center in Laurel. According to a substance abuse counseling and treatment resource list provided by Law, most nearby recovery centers require patients to be fully detoxed before admittance.

Law said there are support groups are available to those with family members dealing with addiction to help them learn how to set healthy boundaries and avoid enabling bad habits. Law recommended looking into either a Nar-Anon group, which deals with drug addiction, or an Al-Anon group, which handles alcohol addiction. A Nar-Anon group currently operates in Picayune and meets every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in Suite D at 1125 Hwy. 43 N. An Al-Anon group meets in Picayune Tuesday night at 7 p.m. and Friday morning at 10 a.m. in Suite H of 6431 Hwy. 11 N.