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Long-Term Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center Opening in Bristol

BRISTOL - New help to combat drug and alcohol addiction is coming to Bristol. With the approval of the Bristol, Virginia City Council, Project Restart Lifestyle Recovery is set to open next month. It'll be located in the old Bristol nursing home, which sits in both Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee. This has been a plan a year in the making and joins the efforts of Fairview Management Housing Corporation, which operates the Manna House transitional housing in Johnson City and the Homeless Assistance Network and Development Services in Abingdon. The leaders believe this is the first long-term facility in the region to offer these kinds of services. "The need is overwhelming," Bob Garrett said. Garrett is just one person working to address the need for long-term treatment when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction. After years of working with the Manna House in Johnson City, he is joining forces with Dreama Shreve with the Homeless Assistance Network and Development Services to provide a program, six months to two years, for those in the Bristol area. Shreve says in Sullivan County, the average is three-and-a-half opiate prescriptions per person. "That tells you some people are getting multiple opiate prescriptions. They're being abused, they're being sold," Shreve said. Project Restart plans to combat addiction by housing nearly 200 people. That's a plan set up in phases to help each person acclimate to a new lifestyle. Shreve said, "We can break ties to bad influences and party buddies and that kind of thing. We can identify family members who are have destructive behavior that's passing it down generation to generation." One component they say is vital is responsibility, which includes obtaining a full-time job. "We want them to have good jobs so when they leave here, they leave here with dignity and a good sense of self-worth and they're able to self-sustain," Shreve said. Another is maintaining support after they get out, which is why they're partnering with community groups like Celebrate Recovery. Michael Hutton says the community support group at Highlands Fellowship is ready to add members. "You're not looked at differently, you're not judged. If you have problems, you have people to reach out to. You can't get better regardless of what your issues are. You can't get better if you don't have that support," Hutton said. Another reason why the Bristol communities say they believe this is the perfect opportunity to tackle a serious and cyclical drug problem. "It gets people off of the drugs to begin with, then it gives them opportunity to look for work, to be trained for work, to reestablish with their families, to be reintegrated in society," Bristol, Virginia City Councilmember Guy Odum said.

We also talked with other transitional housing facilities in the area. Haven of Rest offers men and women's housing for up to a year, but Associate Director Joshua Wiley said most of their residents only stay up to six months. He said having another facility in the area gives those seeking a helpful place another option. "We figure out pretty quickly it's not going to work for them. it's not going to work for us. We don't want to abandon them, we want to find the place that's going to fit them," Wiley said.

Applicants can be referred to the new facility by visiting Project Recovery's website.

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