Though Unchained Celebrate Recovery at Martha Road Baptist Church is a 12-step program for those with habits, hurts, and hang-ups, Mark Benedict, Celebrate Recovery sponsor at Martha Road Baptist Church and Cardiopulmonary Staff Therapist at Jackson County Memorial Hospital spoke about the growing problem with opioid use at the Jackson County Health Department.
“We now have an opioid epidemic on our hands,” Benedict said. “The statistics on opioid deaths in July was 91 deaths per day in the U.S. By August those numbers were up to 142 deaths by opioid overdose per day.”
In 2015, the National Institute of Drug Abuse estimated that 21,732 babies were born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome caused by maternal opioid use during pregnancy—the equivalent of one baby born suffering from opiate withdrawal every 25 minutes. In 2016, the NIDA reported that young adults age 18 to 25 are the biggest users of prescription opioid pain relievers, causing 1,700 deaths in 2014.
“There’s been a new directive in the healthcare field,” Benedict said. “They’ve come to doctors to slow the prescription of opioids because the stats are phenomenal—nearly 75 percent of heroin addicts started with prescription medications.”
While healthcare providers seek to understand and prevent opioid overdose, programs like Celebrate Recovery are working to treat and support those who suffer from addiction and wish to overcome it in their lives.
“I can see the lives being changed. I’ve seen addiction go out the door from methamphetamine, tobacco, alcohol and I’ve seen these people’s lives changed,” Benedict said.
Unchained Celebrate Recovery began in February 2016 and has cycled through one women’s step-study class and one men’s step-study class. Each 12-step class is confidential, split by gender and faith-based. This year, the program is currently working through two men’s step-study classes and one women’s step-study class with another beginning in the fall.
“We’re looking at where we’re going in the future,” Benedict said.
Celebrate Recovery began 25 years ago and is a uniform program all over the country, allowing participants to attend a meeting each week regardless of travel or vacation plans.
“This is a program that is a 52-week long program. If you go to the Celebrate Recovery website and you type in your location, you can find one whether you’re in New York City, Altus, Oklahoma, or Los Angeles, but it’s going to be the same,” Benedict said. “It’s not something that’s hit and miss.”
Benedict has seen his own life affected by Celebrate Recovery, giving him the opportunity to address tobacco and alcohol use in his life.
Although Celebrate Recovery is designed to address addictive behaviors and is a drug court approved program, it is also designed for those who have hurts caused by circumstances such as abuse, divorce, and abandonment, and for those who have mental attitudes, or hang-ups, such as anger, depression, or fear used to cope with others or adversity.
Unchained Celebrate Recovery meets every Sunday at 5 p.m. at Martha Road Baptist Church at 20388 E. CR 158 with a meal and childcare provided.
For more information contact Pastor Kevin Baker at 580-482-3377.
Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.