Dalton non-profit expands to help combat opioid addiction - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dalton non-profit expands to help combat opioid addiction

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DALTON, GA (WRCB) -

A non-profit organization in Dalton is helping fight the opioid epidemic in its community.

Providence Ministries is expanding its operations so it can help more people recovering from addiction.

“This is the shelter itself,” president and founder Roy Johnson said as he walked us through the new facility.

The new shelter has 32 beds, a place for hot meals, and everything a person needs to get by. But the building will be more than a place to sleep, for some people it's a place to wake up a new person.

"[It] helped me to restore my relationship with God, through that my relationship with my family. Helped me be a better husband, a better father," said Ronnie Ballew, who is currently enrolled in an addiction program.

Ballew is struggling with a drug addiction that started when he was 16.

"I started smoking a little marijuana when I was a teenager and it just progressed from there to meth and opioids," Ballew recalled.

When he landed in jail his life hit rock bottom and he decided to make a change. That's when he found Providence Ministries, a shelter that offers help to people struggling with addiction. He's about 4 months into his 6 month program.

"123 days clean,” Ballew said with a smile, “"I don't think I’ve ever been able to say that.”

He credits his sobriety to this shelter. Ballew said he couldn't afford professional treatment and didn't know of any other options. He believes if he had more help his life would be much different.

"I wish that I’d found a place like this 20 years ago, but there was none available,” explained Ballew, “Unless, you know, you had a lot of money or something, insurance, but that was not an option for me at the time."

Ballew's story is one of the reasons why the shelter decided to expand. Leaders said the new 20,000 square foot facility will give them the chance to help even more people.

"It's a matter of life and death. This is not a simple thing. It's a life and death struggle," urged Johnson.

Ballew said he now has a new addiction, a good addiction, an addiction to helping others the way this facility is helping him.

"I plan to stay connected with providence ministries in some sort," Ballew said about his plans after he graduates.

The facility expansion is 4 years in the making. The organization offers help to both men and women, programs last 3-6 months. To enroll in the program you can apply at the facility or online.

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