PRESTONSBURG – In a battle that’s hard to beat, many veterans are finding themselves under fire while fighting substance abuse and addiction.
In 2012, the Kentucky Court of Justice launched a pilot program in Jefferson and Hardin counties known as Veterans Treatment Court. It was a result of a three-year grant made possible from the Veterans Justice Administration for $350,000. The purpose of the program is to assist those individuals dealing with the transition to civilian life and suffering from mental health problems and substance abuse. The program proved successful and has been adopted by many other courts across Kentucky. Floyd County was one of three Kentucky counties to receive awards totaling over $2 million in federal grants for their Drug Court Programs this year. The additional funding has allowed the Drug Court Program to adopt the VTC program as part of its drug court. Floyd County Judge Jimmy Marcum presides over the VTC program.
“Veterans have different and other struggles that civilians don’t understand and deal with such as post-traumatic stress,” Marcum commented. “This program gives those struggling with addiction a foundation and support. They help them find community services and resources they qualify for and deserve. I am honored to be a part of this program.”
VTCs combine the principles used in drug court and mental health court to help veterans achieve stable mental health and achieve and maintain recovery.
Grants for drug court programs are meant to assist participants most difficult to treat, have the fewest necessary resources to complete the drug court program, or to obtain education and work. The loss of jobs in Eastern Kentucky and Floyd County has been staggering. Families have been forced into poverty because of the decline of the coal industry which impacted all business. Many individuals affected by the economic decline have fallen victim to drug abuse due to depression.
The federal funds awarded in January are to assist participants who struggle with employment issues or have other barriers to their recovery. The economic conditions have robbed many hard working citizens out of their self-worth. With the grants, the programs will eventually expand treatment services to include job coaching and counseling and even assist participants with education expenses and housing. The new services will allow displaced workers struggling with addiction the opportunity to get clean and get new job training.
Substance abuse is a problem that affects all social and economic classes. No one is immune from addiction. Although Eastern Kentucky continues to fight a drug problem, progress is being made. Help is available for those who want it.
” We are not enemies, I will help anyone who tries to help themselvesm – all they have to do is pick up the phone and call,” said Marcum.
The Floyd County Drug Program celebrated its graduation on Thursday.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.