Mother fights back to help save next generation from opioid crisis
PLYMOUTH, Ind. -- Imagine having to make phone call, after phone call, just to find a place for your loved one to get clean and to deal with their addiction.
It's a struggle many people in Indiana face each day.
Officials say that a lack of residential, inpatient treatment facilities are handcuffing any efforts, to crush the opioid crisis.
One mother, is determined to help Marshall County, fix that problem.
"When you first come into Plymouth, you see the Economy Inn to the right, and you see Red Roof to the left," describes Angie Kain. "I hate that when you come to Plymouth, it's here. I hate that when you leave Plymouth, it's here."
The Economy Inn is where Kain's son, Chandlor, overdosed less than a year ago.
Walking up to the building was difficult for her.
"This is the first time I've been this close to this building," she says.
For Kain, the worn down railings and blue painted doors, serve as a constant reminder of Chandlor's struggle and her family's loss.
"You can have a mom that makes phone call, after phone call, just trying to talk to anybody to get him help," she explains.
She says she felt hopeless, like there wasn't anything she could do.
But now, she is doing something.
Kain is working to make sure no other mother has to lose a child to the opioid crisis.
"We have to feel this pain and this hurt everyday. Something has to be done," she explains.
She's not the only one who thinks so.
The drug problem is Marshall County is bad, and overdoses are quite frequent.
"It happens here in Plymouth on a regular basis. So why now? Because now is the time. Now is the time to step forward and to help these folks who are battling this disease," says Ward Byers.
Byers is the Director of Marshall County Community Corrections.
He believes that one major part of solving the opioid problem, is lacking all over Michiana.
"Inpatient, residential facilities are truly lacking in our area, to allow that person to have a structured environment while they work through their opioid or substance abuse issues," explains Byers.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the state of Indiana only has four residential, inpatient treatment centers for substance abuse.
The closest facility to Plymouth is in South Bend.
Though there are other short term, inpatient and outpatient private facilities available statewide, they are typically full or are too expensive for many.
"My husband and I, when my son first overdosed, made 32 phone calls to try and find a facility that would take him," recalls Kain. "You either have to be clean for 30 days or [pay] $30,000."
On the 33rd phone call, Kain got Chandlor into a rehab facility all the way in Ft. Wayne.
But the center was voluntary, and he packed his bags just two weeks later.
Byers says, this is a major problem, especially when addicts get out of jail.
"You need to take that substance abuse client, that's dealing with that disease or that illness, and you need to take them out of that environment," he explains.
For many, the option to detox and get clean, is jail.
But that doesn't always work, and the problem persists when the addict gets out of jail.
"You're right back with the people you were doing drugs with. And when you get out, you have to cut those people out of your life, no matter who it is," says Kain. "You just can't be exposed to them."
"They need an alternative. A treatment alternative," adds Byers. "Fortunately, this idea came forward."
That idea, is Shady Rest.
"Shady Rest, for decades, has been a facility that has housed those that deal with mental illness or mental issues," says Byers.
Shady Rest shut its doors this past April.
The beautiful, historic hospital, made for housing people needing help, is empty and abandoned.
But maybe not for long.
The idea is for a private company to partner with Marshall County Community Corrections and a mental health facility.
"[We would] utilize it as a residential, therapeutic substance abuse facility," explains Byers. "To place our clients, that are in need of stable housing, and that are in need of that structured, stable environment."
But what does that really mean?
It means that 48 people, getting out of jail, would have a place to go, if Community Corrections thinks it's a good fit for probation.
A place to go, to get their lives together and to fight their addictions.
Byers is one of the many at the forefront of pushing this vision into focus.
So is Kain, in Chandlor's honor.
"If he would have gone straight from jail, to a place like Shady Rest, had it been up and running, he'd still be here," she says simply.
ABC57 News went with Kain to Shady Rest, the place that she says, could have saved her son, and so many others.
She is doing everything she can to help get this plan approved.
"They can come here and be on a type of house arrest system, to where they can be here, and be monitored," explains Kain. "It makes them be here and be accountable."
Shady Rest would not only serve as a rehab facility for people on probation.
It would also give job training, education, life skills, and more.
All things that Kain says, would help addicts recover and become productive members of society.
Kain believes it'll take the community to make this happen, but she says, it's worth it.
"I just want to make sure nobody else has to go through what my family and I have gone through, and the loss that we've had," she says.
Shady Rest won't completely solve the opioid crisis in Marshall County, but it could be a step in the right direction.
"It's truly a large collaboration to make this happen. But is there one silver bullet to solve the whole thing? No. It's everything and everyone together," says Byers.
"I feel like this is a starting point," adds Kain. "This is a place where we can begin to help."
The business plan for Shady Rest is still being finalized and worked on, before it is presented to the Marshall County Commissioners for approval.
If everything goes as planned, they hope to have people moved in by Spring 2018.