LOUISA, Ky. (LEX 18) — "The longer we wait, the more people die." Those were the chilling words the head of an addiction treatment facility told LEX 18 in March 2021.
The pandemic has only worsened the ongoing epidemic of drug abuse. That's why the organization, Addiction Recovery care, is working to open more beds to treat those looking for a change in their lives.
Matt Brown is the senior vice president of administration of ARC. The organization's goal is to help someone struggling with drug addiction graduate to recovery and have access to resources, including meaningful employment.
"And we believe we are taking one of the state's and the nation's biggest problems and turning it into the solution," said Brown.
Brown's job is to be a part of that solution. He's also a former client.
"With addiction, if you wait six months after someone is ready to get help, they may not want help anymore. They may not even be alive in six months," said Brown.
That's why there is urgency at ARC to open more beds for those seeking help.
Last year, ARC acquired and repurposed the former Saint Catharine College campus in Washington County into a 756-bed addiction treatment center. For their next expansion, Brown says the Louisa-based company has sights set on a new facility in neighboring Greenup County.
"And knowing that this project would increase access to treatment for people and these two things is very personal to me," said Brown.
Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Russell shut down last April. A closing that came as the pandemic was spreading, which cost people access to healthcare, and drove up unemployment.
"This region's been hit very hard by the economic downturn when it comes to coal, and the power plant, and other businesses going out of business. It's been very tough for this area," said Brown.
Brown's vision of converting the hospital into a drug treatment facility is just another example of taking a problem, and turning it into a solution. Opening this facility would not only dozens of beds to the area but also more jobs.
"Clinical counseling staff, physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, maintenance and janitorial staff. Billing and administration functions," said Brown.
Brown says taking down the tarp, reopening the doors, and hiring new employees would bring more stories of recovery to an area desperate for answers.
"Seeing, seeing hope, having hope handed to you, having opportunities handed to you and seeing that it's possible because in early recovery none of us believe we can really do it," said Theresa Lafeve, an administrative specialist at ARC.
Lafeve began her journey after hitting rock bottom twice. She's now two years into her new career at ARC. Lafeve is another living, breathing, proof of recovery.
"I have paid rent on time for over two years and I never could have said that before," said Lafeve. "I'm to a point where I can have full custody of my kids."
Brown, Lafeve, and hundreds of others who have progressed from crisis to career, are now hoping to bring more change and transformation in the middle of a pandemic that has only created more avenues for drug addiction.
If you're seeking help, or know someone who is, you can find out more about ARC and the services provided on their website.