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Congresswoman Susan Brooks visits the Fresh Start Recovery Center

Mayor Shon Byrum and Congresswoman Susan Brooks touring the Fresh Start Recovery CenterOn August 31, the one year anniversary of Volunteers of America of Indiana's Fresh Start Recovery Center was celebrated by hosting a tour for other individuals who are passionate about ending the opioid and heroin crisis in Indiana. Guests included Congresswoman Susan Brooks, Mayor Shon Byrum from Winchester, and staff from the Department of Child Services.

Most of the mothers in the Fresh Start Recovery Program are recovering from drug addictions, such as heroin or opioids, and are severely affected by the epidemic in Indiana. Individually, it inhibits her happiness and ability to succeed. Collectively, it makes them all too familiar with death.

Congresswoman Brooks is acutely aware of this issue, as evidenced by the work she has recently done for health policy and Indiana's opioid epidemic. Her bill called The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524) was passed last month and will establish a task force that will be responsible for reviewing, modifying and updating best practices for prescribers of pain medication.

Congresswoman Brooks greets a child living in the Fresh Start Recovery CenterIn a recent press release Brooks stated, "We lose 78 Americans each day to opioid overdose. We have to act now to stem the tide of opioid abuse in this country, and it starts with giving prescribers, law enforcement, treatment professionals and communities the tools they need to prevent opioid abuse, treat substance abuse and addiction, and prevent illegal drugs from being bought and sold."

"I'm honored by Congresswoman Brooks visit," said Adam Hutton, Lead Treatment Counselor of the Fresh Start Recovery Center. "It provides us with a great opportunity to highlight the unique services we provide for mothers and children. It will also help us better inform the community the challenges young mothers face every day and how Volunteers of America of Indiana has made it their priority to develop and provide unique services that keep families together."

Staff members of Volunteers of America of Indiana with Congresswoman Brooks

The Fresh Start Recovery Center is a 15 bed residential addictions treatment center for mothers involved in the Department of Child Services. It has served 126 women in the past year and many of them are from central and eastern Indiana. Program participants are able to reunite with and/or have their children with them (if under 5 years of age), which is a very unique factor since almost all other residential treatment facilities do not allow children.

Thankfully, with support from individuals such as Congresswoman Brooks and Mayor Byrum, services will be able to expand and serve more mothers in more areas of Indiana. Currently there is an 8 week wait list for a bed, so the need is very great. Volunteers of America of Indiana is excited for this opportunity to empower mothers through addiction recovery and live good, healthy lives with their children.