Every year millions of Americans struggle with substance abuse addictions. But, only 10 % ever get treatment. Tonight, we focus on rehab in central Nebraska and how it takes agencies working together to help addicts get and stay clean as our in–depth report, '5 Nights in the Fight Against Drugs' continues.
22 million Americans, nearly 9 % of the U.S. population 12 and older are addicted to drugs and alcohol.
But, only 1 in 10 ever get help.
"There is often times a stigma when people hear of a halfway house, a lot of people picture bars on the windows and a it is a lock down type of thing," said Friendship House Director Aaron Ross.
Unless enforced by a court, getting treatment is a choice.
"This is entirely voluntary, if a person does not want to come, they just do not come," said Ross.
For those battling addictions, making the first step to recovery is anything but easy.
And treatment is often a long, private and painful process.
"It is a battle," said AJ Shambaugh.
Like many others, it took the legal system, a class 5 felony cocaine charge, for 21 year old AJ Shambaugh to finally get help.
"I was blaming the system, but my mom tells me she thinks sometbody was watching out for me that got me busted so I could finally take that step and get clean because I would not have got clean without drug court," Shambaugh said.
In Central Nebraska several agencies work together to help addicts get and stay clean.
Drug court is often the starting point.
"They are basically the legal accountability side for the person while they are in here and it is kind of a joint effort while they are in here as far as we are helping them with the substance abuse recovery and they are the legal accountability," said Judge James Livingston.
They are required to be employed, they are required to pay off anybody who was injured or damages as a result of the crime, it is also about becoming employed, becoming self–sufficient, changing their relationships, changing their attitudes.
"Ending up here in drug court is like being given a 2nd chance. Complete the program and many of the charges can be dropped, but for those who fail, they many times end up back in jail."
Other agencies, like drug treatment centers and crossroads in Hastings– a homeless shelter welcomes those who have no where else to turn.
"At the very least we hope they are leaving with jobs, on top of that we certainly hope they have put 6–12 months of clean time and sobriety under their bel, gain some real confidence, have a support system in place and a bright out look on their futures, some money in the bank," said Peter McConnell, Crossroads.
"I think Crossroads is really a saving grace here in town, in the Tri-cities where when people have exhausted every other avenue and just have nothing left there is a place they can come to find hope."
Hope for a new beginning, a fresh start without drugs.
There are countless other treatment centers and programs in central Nebraska for drug addicts and alcoholics.
For information and referrals to community services see below:
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
475 Riverside Dr.
New York, NY 10115
Cocaine Anonymous (CA)
3740 Overland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90034
AL-non/Alateen Family Groups
P.O. Box 862
New York, NY 10018-0862
Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
P.O. Box 9999
Van Nuys, CA 91409
Boys Town National Hotline
Nar-Anon Family Groups
P.O. Box 2562
Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD)
12 West 21st, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10017