DAMASCUS, Md. - With drug addiction gripping our communities these days, a solution is very hard to come by. So, what works to stop addiction once and for all?
There is one place in Montgomery County that is having success, and we took a drive up to visit Nathan’s Ridge. The facility houses six men who have been in and out of prison, rehab, and have lived on the streets.
Nothing else worked for Travis Moyer, 27, until he found this place. He was a heroin addict who reached his breaking point. It started with drinking and then came the pain pills.
“It eventually just led to heroin. Pills on the street are real expensive and heroin is not,” Moyer said.
He said he was shooting up heroin every day for eight years.
“Heroin is not something you can do occasionally. It’s not like drinking a beer or something like that. It just takes you physically, you know,” Moyer said.
After being sent to prison, he ended up in rehab, and then he went back to prison.
Moyer said the family dynamic of Nathan’s Ridge, which is rooted in religion, made all the difference. He is now 16 months sober.
“Once I was familiar with it, my whole attitude started changing. Not only towards myself and addiction, but towards other people,” said Moyer.
Jerry Collan, a recovering alcoholic, felt the same way.
“It was hard for me at first to transition, but the love and support that they showed me, and the concern that they have for me being clean and sober, enabled me to stay with it,” Collan said.
Opened in 2013, Nathan’s Ridge is part of Difference Makers Church in Damascus, a Christian-based ministry program that aims to provide a safe and caring environment for men -- free of drugs, alcohol and violence.
Pastor Clark Baisden and Lorelei Irons run the program.
“They have chores to do, they have to pay their rent on time, they have to work or go to school, drug test clean,” said Irons.
“I think the thing that probably works the most is family,” said Baisden. “When we introduce love into this environment, and hope into his environment, it’s very powerful. And we need powerful weapons in this war.”
And when they can celebrate a graduation from the sober house, it is a very special day.
“If it touches one person's life, we've done our job,” Irons said.
“They've gone on to be engaged in their families, be some of the best men I know. Birth out successful businesses, lead those businesses. Be trusted in the community,” said Baisden.
Irons said the men are required to attend meetings every night for the first 90 days, and they can stay at the facility beyond the required six months if they need to.
“It’s not just about not using drugs, it’s about becoming a better person from the inside out,” Moyer said.
Nathan’s Ridge receives no government funding. It is supported through community fundraisers.