by LAUREN TALOTTA
CHARLESTON, W.Va. ( WCHS/WVAH)
The opioid epidemic in West Virginia continues to grab the attention of those in the nation’s capital. On Monday, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was in town to help shine a national spotlight on the issue in an effort to find answers.
“Our citizens are our most precious resource. We have to treat them like that. We have to do everything we can to bring them to their maximum potential,” said Carson.
Hearing stories of recovery from those who have battled addiction proves to be a driving force for Carson, who serves on President Trump’s interagency task force dedicated to addressing the opioid crisis.
“This could happen to anyone. I bet there’s no one here who doesn’t have someone in their circle who has been impacted,” said Carson.
On Monday, Carson joined U.S. lawmakers to tour three drug rehabilitation facilities in Huntington and Charleston, including Recovery Point.
“I was the hopeless person you see walking along the street. That was me 19 months ago,” said Erica Bregg, a peer mentor supervisor at Recovery Point.
The 92-bed program provides hope for women like Tiffanie Tompkins and Bregg, offering long-term recovery services.
“Along the way, something just clicked,” said Tompkins. “It’s peer driven. We all relate to each other, we all help each other, we’ve all been through the same things.”
“We do all of the maintenance, we do all of the cooking, we do all of the laundry, we run the whole facility,” said Bregg.
Those components of success are what Carson wants to take with him back to Washington.
“Secretary Carson is here for all of the right reasons – to talk and to see about what’s working – the best practiced examples,” said Representative Evan Jenkins.
Tompkins and Bregg are just two of Recovery’s success stories. Both are currently enrolled in an internship program with Congressman Alex Mooney and are looking ahead to the future.
“When I look at the people here, I see incredible results,” said Carson.
“No one has gotten more results – percentage wise – than Recovery Point. Even though it’s a little different than what the so-called professionals want, you’ve gone down your own path and had better results,” said Senator Joe Manchin.
Carson also visited Rea of Hope, Harmony House, and Charleston’s HUD field office.