PAINTSVILLE – “Recovery works!”

That sentiment, expressed by Susan Stumbo, Program Supervisor for the 24th Judicial District Drug Court, is what the UNITE Hope Wall is all about.

DSC_0005-group“People need to use recovery techniques that are available to them. This wall represents that recovery is possible,” Stumbo said Monday, as the Hope Wall began its three-week stint in the lobby of the Johnson County Judicial Center. “We have several people (who have graduated Drug Court) on there.”

Unveiled last August, the 20-foot long wall features about 150 individuals who are now in recovery and living clean, sober lives. It demonstrates that substance abuse addiction has no boundaries, that all walks of life are affected.

Providing inspiration and encouragement to seek help for an addiction, or for those currently in treatment or recovery, is the primary reason for the Hope Wall. The wall represents a tremendous success in the lives of those individuals who have been able to rebuild their families, their lives, and are now contributing to society.

For Chief Circuit Court Judge John David Preston, the wall also validates efforts by the court system to provide help instead of just throwing people in jail.

“This is tremendous. I see these drug cases all the time,” Judge Preston explained. “We have a variety of punishments for people involved in drugs, but the goal is rehabilitation. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes they re-offend and we’re a little harder with them. It’s discouraging when it doesn’t work.”

“The bottom line is when we have a group of people who have successfully beaten their addiction it is really gratifying because we feel the effort we put into it is worthwhile,” Judge Preston continued. “It works. It turns somebody around.”

Among those attending Monday’s debut of the Hope Wall was a delegation from the Johnson County Community of Hope (JCCOH), a recently formed organization where community members come together to explore and provide opportunities to help local families.

The mission of JCCOH is to utilize the compassion, skills and resources of the community to strengthen families and improve child and family well-being. Helping families overcome problems associated with drug addiction is one part of the group’s efforts.

“A majority of the folks featured on the Hope Wall have received a UNITE Treatment Voucher to help them overcome their addiction,” noted Dan Smoot, UNITE president/CEO. “These are people who may have otherwise continued down a destructive path of drugs.”

More than 3,300 people – including 106 Johnson County residents – have entered a substance abuse treatment program using a UNITE voucher since the initiative began in 2005, Smoot said.

Treatment vouchers for short-term or long-term residential treatment are available to low-income residents of the 32 counties served by UNITE across southern and eastern Kentucky. For more information call UNITE’s Treatment Help-Line at 1-866-908-6483.

The wall will remain on display in Johnson County through the morning of Friday, May 23.

Anyone who has been in recovery for at least 18 months is eligible to be featured on the wall.