Community members and addiction recovery non-profits ask state leaders for long term rehab services

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DANVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Opioid addiction and human trafficking are two very serious issues some people may not know can sometimes go hand in hand. On Tuesday, community members met for a round table in Danville to discuss how the pandemic may have created a perfect storm for addiction and crime. For many, the year 2020 can be viewed as a year of loss, especially for those who’ve suffered from addiction like former addict john cooper. During the pandemic, he was in treatment. Looking back, he says people who weren’t in recovery faces many obstacles.

“It was a wash in chaos and fear..And responsibility that you can’t live up to. The pandemic has compounded the opioid crisis,” says Cooper.

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Cooper says the pandemic’s combination of no employment, too much time doing nothing and government stimulus checks made things too easy for some people.

“They were getting free money from the government. And 1400 dollars for the dope dealer instead of putting food on the table,” says Cooper.

When cooper was 15 years old, he became addicted to pain killers. It took him 24 years to get clean. According to non-profits like Isaiah house, becoming addicted young is a way a person can be vulnerable to temptation and commit crimes like human trafficking and child abuse.

“There are people who are dealers that are targeting the most vulnerable whoever that may be. It’s a much longer issue than most of us realize,” says Mike Cox with Isaiah House.

Isaiah house believes long term recovery like 11 months or a year is much better than shorter-term 30-day programs.

“Short term treatment is kinda like going to urgent care. You go to urgent care to take care of a crisis..So it stabilizes the crisis..but it does not provide the time necessary to deal with all the underlining issues of addiction,” explains Cox.

Cooper told ABC 36 that short term rehabilitation only set him back.

“I was using before i got home when i went to another center it was a long term program and that’s where my recovering journey really started,” recalls Cooper.

On Tuesday afternoon, congressman Brett Guthrie and attorney general Daniel Cameron hosted that round table discussion about long term rehabilitation and resources for recovery. Community members, former addicts and non profits attended the meeting in Danville.