WAJR | CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Harrison County’s largest city and county seat is engulfed over a debate about the placement of sober living homes for recovering drug addicts and alcoholics.
That’s not to say that members of the community don’t support the idea, but Clarksburg Mayor Cathy Goings said a number of city residents have expressed concern over the placement of sober living facilities by two different organizations.
… The second organization, Oxford House, uses a different business model. Anywhere from six to eight people entering addiction recovery rent a home together–attempting to operate the home as both a family and a business would–while following three key rules.
“Some people get the knack of how to stay clean and sober just after 30 days or two or three months,” Oxford House CEO Paul Malloy said. “Other people may take three or four years. Some people may never be able to stay clean and sober unless they live in this environment with other people who are able to stay clean and sober.”
The rules are simple: the house must be Democratically self-governed, the unit must be financially self-sufficient, and the group must agree to expel any member who returns to illicit drugs or alcohol.
… The Oxford House has more than 2,000 units spread across 42 states. There are already 17 in West Virginia, but none in the North Central West Virginia region. According to Malloy, their model offers a much better chance at successfully staying clean.
“Most people relapse,” he said. “If you look at the national statistics of people who are in treatment, first of all, only one in fifteen people will even get into treatment. Then, for those who get into treatment, fifteen percent of them have been through treatment five times before.”
Several studies have found higher than normal success rates at these homes. One such study, conducted in 1987 and following the first 13 years of Oxford House patients, was conducted by a retired former employee of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
“And he came to us six months later and said, ‘What I found was that 80 percent of the folks who moved into Oxford House stayed clean and sober,’” Malloy said. “And we said to him, ‘My God, what are we doing wrong? We’re losing 20 percent. And he said, ‘You don’t understand. Treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction, you are lucky if 20 percent stay clean and sober.’”
Of the 17 homes already in West Virginia, there is one each in Benwood, Charles Town, Dunbar, Keyser, Oak Hill, and Weirton. Two such homes exist in Wheeling. Three homes are in Charleston, Huntington, and Martinsburg. The first home in Clarksburg would open February 1 on S. 22nd Street. Outreach coordinators from Oxford House are already attempting to find suitable tenants.
Read the entire story… WAJR