Local pastor leads way in addiction recovery

A local pastor was on hand Friday to help announce Kentucky’s newest effort in battling the opioid addiction crisis. According to statistics from the state, Kentucky has the third highest drug overdose rate in the United States, and 80% of heroin users start out using opioid painkillers.

Pastor Scott Phipps of North Main Community Church, also Founder and Director of Hope City in Barbourville, spoke during Governor Matt Bevin’s press conference Friday afternoon announcing the launch of a new drug treatment helpline. The helpline is a joint effort between the Kentucky Justice Department, Operation UNITE and the Governor to help tackle the deadly addictions plaguing the state.

Phipps founded Hope City as a faith-based program to help recovering addicts. “Three years ago, we saw a great need in our community … for a treatment center,” said Phipps.

Hope City’s funding comes almost entirely from Operation UNITE. “UNITE has been our greatest help, our only financial help,” said Phipps. “Most of the ladies that have come in called their treatment line, and the vouchers they provide have enabled us to turn these girls’ lives around.”

Phipps and his wife Tammie are no strangers to addiction themselves. After 24 years of sobriety, they have a lot to offer people seeking help. Phipps remarked “We take what we learned through experience and use that at Hope City.”

The Phipps’ experience is a great help, but the program couldn’t happen without the many volunteers it takes. From nurses to other support specialists, Phipps thanks them for the selfless deeds they do to help others. “We are blessed with great volunteers that give so much of their time… There are some great people in Kentucky that have great concern for the problem taking place,” said Phipps.

Changing lives for the better is the fruit Hope City desires to offer. “Ladies have turned their life around and are productive citizens now of the community,” said Phipps. “We haven’t had a graduate yet from Hope City that has not received full custody of their children back. It’s just been a wonderful thing to be a part of. I’m very thankful for that. A great follow-up program has been a part of the great success with the ladies that have come through Hope City.”

In closing his remarks at the capitol, Phipps added “Working together, lives can truly be changed.”

The new hotline program, called “Don’t Let Them Die” is designed for addicts and those around them to seek out help. The hotline number is 833-8KY-HELP (833-859-4357). More information can be found at www.dontletthemdie.com.