Recovering Substance Abusers Talk About the System - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Recovering Substance Abusers Talk About the System

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"I think it's sad that, to see all the drug addicts and drug abuse in this town," Andrew Kinkade told a reporter.  He's recovering from a substance abuse problem himself.

At the Unity Center in center Wheeling, the evening crowd gathered at the new coffee bar.  Here, survivors of substance abuse talk about staying drug free one day at a time.

Kinkade continued his talk.  "I don't wanna be just on the street with a needle in my arm.  I don't wanna be sittin' on the street with a bottle of beer in my hand," he said.

Mental health professionals say prescription drug abuse has reached crisis proportions in the Ohio Valley.  Those having come through the prison and rehabilitation system don't hesitate to say how prison assisted them with their substance abuse problem.

"Prison didn't help," Kinkade said.  "I mean, if anything, the day I got out of prison I drank.  Went back to the day I started."

Travis White went through the prison system and is a recovering addict.  He said, "That (prison) puts the disease as a whole in suspension.  It doesn't take it away.  There's no recovery there.  There's no healing process.  It's about healing, and finding a new way to live your life."

In Andrew and Travis's view,  more attention needs paid to the psychological issues that bring on a substance abuse problem.  Things like stress.  Things like the environment in the Ohio Valley.  What appears to solve the issue happens during times when a group of abusers work together.

"We need to make a movement for more treatment centers," Travis said.  "We need to make a movement for more 12-step programming. That is what works.  That is what saves lives."

Andrew agreed. "We keep each other clean.  You know, if we have a problem -- if you're struggling that day -- you call somebody and talk about it."

One other thing both Andrew and Travis will tell you -- the government focuses on the lives lost from substance abuse -- rather than those saved.

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