In 1935 the Federal Government erected the first Drug Treatment Center in Lexington, Kentucky. The Narcotic Farm was purposed to treat and find a cure for addicts, primarily heroin addicts. Many patients came from prison and shortly thereafter more followed that willingly checked themselves in. “For years the Farm was the world’s foremost center of addiction research,” stated Sam Quinones in his must-read book titled Dreamland.
Sadly the success rate never climbed over 10%.
Even today with decades of research most treatment centers don’t rise above a single-digit success rate, although their bank accounts soar far higher than single digits. Tens of thousands of dollars for a 30-day stay is the norm. The world of drug and alcohol treatment centers rakes in tens of billions on a yearly basis.
Strangely, 1935 also produced a powerful movement of recovery right up the road from Lexington, Kentucky. 1935 was the inception of a new international movement called Alcoholics Anonymous. Bill W., a New York stockbroker, and Dr. Bob, an Akron Surgeon, started an effective movement under the spiritual guidance of Episcopal Minister Dr. Samuel Shoemaker.
Based upon 12 biblical principles and alcoholics helping alcoholics the early years of AA produced a proven track record of well over 50% of people that took the program seriously achieving long-term or even permanent sobriety. Although hard to document, it is safe to say that AA is now producing more of a single-digit percentage of success rate in the present day.
I find it no small coincidence that in the same year, and most likely oblivious of each others’ birthing, The Narcotic Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, and Alcoholics Anonymous, in Akron, Ohio, (a morning drive from each other) set out to bring a solution to the deadly addiction issues that plagued the land nearly a century ago.
Approaching a century later this same region of our beautiful nation boasts the worst statistics for drug overdose rates in our country’s short history.
When it comes to addiction it seems the Midwest has had a quicksand-like underworld of addiction issues for years and years. This dark reality of addiction has simultaneously been growing alongside a desperate hope for a movement of recovery, and the two have been active for decades right alongside each other. Sadly the efforts for recovery have yet to turn a corner on a real solution.
But I can tell you another movement is rising. Many drug and alcohol treatment centers are helping, but they are not producing big results. AA’s approach of alcoholics helping other alcoholics still caught in the “grip of the grape” is helping, but is not bringing the results it once boasted.
This rising new movement is about YOU and I.
Whether you are personally fighting the beast of addiction or not, this movement hinges on the average citizen claiming some responsibility and engaging in the fight. You can help your neighbor, and you can pray in faith. You can reach out and let the addict and alcoholic know they are loved and we haven’t written them off to suffer in isolation and dreaded darkness.
It’s you and I that hold the power to help our nation turn the corner on this issue. It’s the love and power of God working through all of us as we intentionally involve ourselves in the mess that rests around us. It’s our helping hand and believing heart that is stirring a generation of people into action.
One day at a time. One person at a time. We can shift the course of history and walk with the addicted soul into freedom, wholeness, and purpose. God wants this more than you and I combined, and as we ask for His help we can rest assured knowing it is here.
God wants to use you and me to be His hands and feet that love our struggling communities into His healing arms.
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