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The Fix: Addressing Opioid Abuse in New Kent, VA

Posted: 4/1/19 at 1:40pm. Article by Ben Caldwell.

In 2018, Sheriff Joe McLaughlin of New Kent County, VA, invited leaders from local churches to attend a meeting at his office to address the county’s opioid abuse epidemic.

Different county agencies were represented: Fire and Rescue, EMS, Education, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Henrico Jail East -Henrico Sheriff’s Office staff. Each leader described specific ways substance abuse was affecting their departments.

After hearing from county leaders, the Sheriff concluded, “I believe these people who are abusing substances need Jesus. So I have invited the Church to the table to help us.”

“I believe these people who are abusing substances need Jesus.”

The degree to which the county was being impacted by substance abuse was a surprise to many, including myself. I was also surprised that an elected official would speak so openly about Christ and acknowledge the potential impact of the church to help.

As I began to pray, I felt that God had just given me a summons. To quote Esther, I believed I was there for “such a time as this.”

The people who were gathered in that room at the Sheriff’s department divided into two groups. Some volunteered to help work with teens and children to help prevent substance abuse problems. Others of us volunteered to work with those who already have addictions.

My church, Corinth Baptist, agreed to work with two other churches, New Covenant Community Church and Journey Christian Fellowship, to help those who have drug addictions.

Fred and Casey Weymouth were instrumental in leading our group. Both Fred and Casey are recovering addicts who acknowledge that God saved them spiritually and helped them recover from addiction. Already working with those fighting addiction, they were constantly getting calls from families with teenagers, asking them for support.

They felt that starting a substance abuse recovery facility was an important step. Leaders at Corinth had been looking toward involvement in a ministry called New Life For Youth, a faith-based substance abuse recovery facility in Richmond. Inspired by their work with addicts and facing the reality that most treatment facilities were at maximum capacity already, we decided that we needed to begin a local facility of our own.

We formed a leadership team with the Weymouths and decided to open The Fix Ministry. Fred best explains the meaning of the name, “Nothing worked for me until I found Jesus. He’s The Fix!”

Since we felt God leading us to open this facility, the Lord has blessed us with a 3,000-square-foot house on 25 acres in King William County. We formed a board of directors, which I now chair. We have incorporated and are waiting for our 501(c)(3). The government shutdown unfortunately delayed this process.

Currently, eight men are living in the house, under the supervision of the Weymouths, who live onsite, and Jason Swezey, who is a recovering addict and veteran worker in faith-based treatment facilities.

Our program is based on other faith-based programs that boast an 80% success rate for those who complete the nine-month program. We are hopeful that this ministry will make a difference in the lives of recovering addicts and believe that God will continue the work he has started in the county.     

This story was written by Ben Caldwell, Pastor of Corinth Baptist Church in New Kent, VA. For more information about this ministry, contact him at ben@corinthbaptist.us.

Do you have a story to share about something your church is doing? We’d love to publish it on our blog. To submit a brief article, email it with a photo to Jennifer Law at jennifer.law@bgav.org.