House offers affordable way for addicts to rehab

Published 10:10 am Tuesday, September 7, 2010

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) —People recovering from drug and alcohol addictions will soon have a place in Ashland to stay and return to a normal life for less than it would cost to spend the same time at a hotel.

Rob Donta and Rick Francis quietly went to work building a foundation for Life’s Second Chance, a longterm recovery center for people who have gone through an initial detox period, after dealing with the effects of prescription drug abuse on an intensely personal level.

“I’ve had a few members of my family who didn’t make it this year,” Donta said, adding he also had a family member who was able to obtain longterm recovery help at Brighter Side in Bowling Green “and that one did make it.”

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“I haven’t lost family members, but I have family members who have this addiction,” Francis said. “I would estimate 99 percent of families in this area are affected by this.”

Before making any decisions about their plan of action, Francis and Donta co nsulted with four judges in Boyd County, drug court officers in Boyd and Greenup counties, social service workers, Pathways employees, people at Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, local church members and many others, including Keith Deitz at Brighter Side in Bowling Green. The consensus was clearly in favor of establishing a place where people who want to break their substance-abuse cycles could have the time and resources to do it.

“We’re starting out with a small number and working toward a maximum of 16,” Donta said, adding it will begin as a men-only operation. “We have room to expand if we need to.”

Life’s Second Chance won’t be a place with a revolving door, both said, and will have a 24-hour staff with strict curfews and designated visitation times strictly for supportive family members.

“You can’t just come in off the street,” Francis said, explaining people must complete a 10 to 14 day detox through an agency such as Pathways, or in jail. “You have to be clean and sober.”

Life’s Second Chance will be operated without any state or federal funding, and will rely upon the people who live there to keep it going.

“This is not a lockdown program. They’re working to pay to be there. You have to maintain a job as part of the program,” Francis said, adding check-up visits with the employer are also part of the plan at Life’s Second Chance.

In addition to work outside the center, people in recovery will do all of the chores at the home in Ashland as part of their healing. Donta and Francis said basic life skills including money management and simple housekeeping are an essential part of an addict or alcoholic’s return to a sober life. Life at Life’s Second Chance will also be bound to daily meeting schedules with programs including AA and NA, or with people at Pathways if work schedules prevent daytime participation.

With an average cost of $12,000 per month at most private longterm recovery centers, the price to stay at Life’s Second Chance has been kept to an absolute minimum.

It is $300 on admission and there is a one time admission fee of $50 and that covers two weeks. After that it is $125 per week. It is a six to 12 month program,” Donta said. “That is less than a motel room.”