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Rural Effort to Battle Drug Addiction

DADE COUNTY, Mo -- A collaboration of businesses, law enforcement and a Lockwood church band together to heal. 

Finding resources to overcome drug addictions can be difficult, especially in rural areas. 

Lockwood, Missouri's population is right around 1,000 people. Unlike more populated areas, finding help for an addiction can be a struggle. 
    
But a collaboration of businesses, law enforcement, and one of Lockwood's churches are trying to help turn lives around that have been struck by addiction.

For Pastor Gary Griffin, the inspiration for starting a program to help people with addictions was simple in 2016. 

"There were people in this community and in this church as well that were dealing with addictions," Griffin says. 

After getting training to help understand addictions and how they develop, Pastor Griffin started RHAA: Restored Hope Against Addictions. It helps people recognize triggers, set boundaries, and change habits. 

"If anything with RHAA it's to give them hope again and to get them back on their feet where they feel successful, and believe that they can do it. They are doing it and I'm really proud of them," Griffin says. 

Dade County Sheriff Max Huffman says many people in drug court programs are required to participate in self-help classes, and some are referred to RHAA. The two work together to improve lives. 

"If they are successful through the recovery court program, then we need to get them out in the community, contributing to the community," Huffman says.  "It's going to take the resources of the entire community to get it done." 

That is exactly what is happening as businesses are getting in on the process, too. 

"There are employers out there who I will contact and say 'Hey, I have a gentleman who is in our program and he is ready to work. He is doing well in our program.' Then, that employee will hire them," Huffman explains.  

Pastor Griffin says not everyone in RHAA comes through court.

"We help anybody that deals with addictive issues. They don't have to be in drug court or dealing with legal law issues," says Griffin.  

No matter how they got there, Pastor Griffin says the groups rally around one another.

"They encourage each other in the group sessions, they help to do volunteer service around the community. And then this whole house thing." 

The RHAA group has began to build a small house for one person in recovery who lost their home while they were lost in addiction. Seeing that person get a job and a now house is a step towards a better life, and it is rewarding for everyone involved. 

"They're putting their own labor into it for somebody else in the group. It may not be for them, but it's that whole selfless helping one another and I'm really proud of them," Griffin says. "They're all together. When we get done with the first house, who knows what the second is going to be like." 

Hard work brings a big return on investment, as there is no cost for those participating in this program. 


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