Drug, alcohol agency focused on hope

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2005

Bob Vinson had an idea to open an agency where people could get help with their addictions, but he wanted the service to be open to everyone.

On Aug. 1, that idea became a reality when he and partners Pete Elswick and David Nelson opened Spectrum Outreach Services, Ltd.

"If somebody comes in for help with an addiction, they will be helped," said Vinson, director of marketing and development for the drug and alcohol agency. "No one will be turned away."

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That is the kicker to Vinson's now realized idea, just because someone cannot pay for treatment does not mean he or she will be turned away.

To provide a free service, money has to be obtained elsewhere.

"It's one thing to know you have a problem and another to be able to afford it," Vinson said. "There's money out there to help people who don't have it."

Vinson said they currently have no funding and are running on money put back by himself, Elswick and, Nelson. He said they are seeking out grants and research money to fund their venture, particularly at the federal level. With federal money, Vinson said they can help anyone from any state, with state money they can only help those in the state giving the money.

"We're going to find the money so we can help anybody and everybody who needs treatment," Vinson said.

By operating in this fashion, he said the agency will reach out to more people.

"We're here to give them hope so they can understand they have a chance. We're the ray of hope. That's what we want to be," Vinson said. "We'd like to help everyone, but we know we can't."

He said the group will soon print the words, "Hope starts here," on the office door on the third floor of the Masonic Building at 108 N. Third St., Ironton.

Once the hope returns to people, everyone at Spectrum Outreach Services will work with people to get their lives back on track, Vinson said.

"We'll help people get back on their feet, help them re-train for their job or, if they've never had a job, help them get their first job," Vinson said. "We can guide a lot of people in the right direction."

This is done through outpatient care, but Vinson said he hopes to expand with a treatment center in the future. For now, they do assessments, individual programs, group programs, case management and crisis intervention.

Clinical counselor Steve Watkins said they will not only focus on the individual but also help the families.

"Addiction can affect every part of their lives," he said. "So we will work with each person individually and holistically."

Vinson said, even though the agency has office hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., they do not quit at 5 p.m.

"We're not going to be the normal agency," he said.

Vinson has his home phone number printed on his business card. He said anyone can call him at anytime and if he cannot help, Vinson said he will find someone who can.

Currently the staff consists of Vinson, Elswick, Nelson, Watkins and Andy Thompson.

"We're not the only agency, but our staff, they're all good people, and they all share my passion about helping people with addiction," Vinson said. "With the attitudes and people we've got, there's no doubt in my mind we can help people if they'll give us a chance."