TC 1MADISONVILLE, Ky. (11/11/17) — Drug addiction has reached epidemic status in Kentucky with more than 1,400 reported deaths last year, compared to 834 traffic deaths.

While legislators struggle with solutions, one western Kentucky group says it is experiencing phenomenal success in “redeeming” men and women who have lost their spirit due to drug addiction.

Teen Challenge is that organization, and is hard work to save people from the evils of drug addiction. It is not a part time endeavor — it requires 24/7 attention, 365 days a year.

Scott Lipinsky and his wife, Andrea, are dedicated to the task. With staff and volunteers, Scott says that the job is extremely rewarding.

“We have people come to us in the bonds of addiction and we are able to watch them break from those bonds and bloom,” he said. “It is all with the spirit and service to Jesus Christ.”

Andrea was ecstatic with the turnout for the annual dinner to support Teen Challenge Thursday evening. Three years ago, the event had eleven tables. Thursday night’s event saw the activities hall at First United Methodist Church in Madisonville at capacity. It was an engaged crowd that included many graduates of the Teen Challenge program.

The program was a report of accomplishments (including the new women’s center), plus, entertainment showcasing the men and women in the program. Organizers outlined the ongoing needs of the program and special projects needs. The special projects include a walk-in freezer to better take advantage of bulk food, new carpet for the men’s center and a room conversion at the women’s center.

Lipinsky told the crowd that utilities for the two facilities often exceed $6,000 per month and they are feeding 40 men, 15 women and staff. Supporters are asked to sponsor one or two people for $30 or $60 per month.

Teen Challenge is faith-based and does not qualify for government funding. However, government programs have generally not been as successful as Teen Challenge.

TC 2

David Atkinson, president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, testified at a meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare last Wednesday.

“The impact of the opioid crisis on Kentuckians’ health is staggering, with more than 1,400 overdose deaths reported last year,” he said. “Less obvious; however, is the toll it has taken on the state’s economic growth and development.”

Adkinson stated that in Kentucky, the opioid crisis has contributed to a workforce participation challenge that undermines the competitiveness of existing businesses while creating barriers to new investments.

Scott also pointed out methamphetamine users were dying, adding the life expectancy of a Cardinal was 15 years, but the life expectancy of a meth user was only 10.

Statistics show addiction is affecting the lives of thousands of Kentuckians as well as impacting the viability of the economy.

Teen Challenge and its participants are working nonstop in meeting the challenge one person at a time.

Ron Sanders
SurfKY News

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