Rehab Center For Young Adults – Drug-addicted youth find support and educational opportunities at the United Methodist New Life Recovery Center in Carterville, Liberia. Photo by E Julu Swen, UMNS.
Prayer replaced cocaine in the life of ex-addict Romeo “Jean Papi” Sonpon, one of the first people treated at the New Life Recovery Center here.
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Sonpon, 32, said he now prays every morning when he wakes up and every night before he goes to bed. Before becoming one of the first to receive treatment at the new center, he had not prayed for many years.
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“My life here at the center helped me reconnect with my mother, who welcomed me into the family because of the center’s role in my life,” Sonpon said. “She’s learning to trust me again.”
Jefferson Knight (center), director of the United Methodist Church’s human rights agency in Liberia, stands with New Life Recovery Center residents Romeo “Jean Papi” Sonpon (left) and Life Buan. Photo by E Julu Swen, UMNS.
“The war on drugs is tough, but we as a church have a role to play that will ensure that young people do not become victims of drugs,” said Jefferson Knight, director of the Human Rights Monitor of the United Methodist Church in Liberia.
The 20-bed center was built by the United Methodist Church through its human rights department, with input from other Christian churches in Liberia. More than $30,000 of the construction money came from members of Resurrection United Methodist Church in Leawood, Kansas. The center’s goal is to help remove substance abusers from the streets of Monrovia and its surrounding areas, Knight said.
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“We are using the center to help the government wage its war on substance abuse and addiction in the country,” Knight said.
Sonpon, who dropped out of school in the fourth grade, said the center made him feel needed by Liberian society. He hopes that his friends who are still addicted to drugs will also get help.
“I have three meals a day with professional and academic educational activities that will put me in a place I would never have gotten on my own,” he said.
Another patient, Life Buan, 18, said his short stay at New Life Recovery Center has been rewarding, especially as he is learning to read and write. Buan and Sonpon even learn to bake at the center with Buan’s mother teaching.
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Buan and Sonpon hope to earn money by selling sweets in the community where the center is located.
The requirements are strict to receive treatment, said Oliver Pratt, the center’s chief of residents. Pratt is key to creating six recovery centers around Monrovia, including West Point.
“No resident is allowed to handle or hold their own money for the first six months of their stay at the center,” Pratt said.
Residents are expected to abide by all center rules and must cleanse their bodies of illegal drugs before they can access the program.
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Pratt pointed out that once a resident is deemed clean and good to go with no threat of relapse, he or she will be allowed to keep their money.
“I don’t want to be overpowered by my friends who used these substances when I’m alone among them in any facility like school,” he said.
The $30,000 fundraising effort for the center at Resurrection United Methodist Church in Leawood, Kansas, was led by the Rev. Jeff Kirby, his wife Michelle Kirby, Men’s Leader Tom Langafer and church member Ron Smith.
Swen is a communicator in Liberia. News media contact: Vicki Brown, Nashville, TN, (615) 742-5470 or [email protected]. To read more United Methodist news,
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The United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council reviewed issues arising from a controversial church closing in North Carolina. The court also issued five other decisions after its fall deliberations.
United Methodist Bishop Daniel O. Lunge, Episcopal Area of Central Congo, was elected provincial president of the Church of Christ in Sankuru, Congo, a union of 95 Protestant and evangelical Christian denominations.
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Mozambique’s third bishop is remembered as an “honorable statesman” who mentored many young people and contributed to the growth of the United Methodist Church. Excuse our mess! Please note that our main lobby at Abe’s Place in Center Twp is undergoing a major construction project. All staff, patients and visitors must enter through the gymnasium. Follow the posted signs.
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Looking for professional information on student substance use? We asked our teen therapist, Karen Pollard, questions about substance use and teens!
Karen: “There can be many signs, but you can see demotivation, dropping grades, not being present or using a lot of excuses. Signs can appear in appearance, such as casual dressing. Other signs can be a change in personality, loss of friends, and changing friend groups. Anything that makes you think this doesn’t sound like you; something is wrong here.”
Question 2: What do you think is a good early intervention tool to use when approaching student substance use behavior?
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Karen: “Education and awareness. Building awareness of their own choices and personal consequences of substance use. That’s where I go with the treatment. Anything that might draw attention to their behavior and choices and where those choices might lead them. I also recommend evaluation [for treatment]. When a student is caught using a substance, a substance use action plan must be followed. Usage will advance, and that’s where we come in.”
The signs and symptoms of teenage alcohol use will vary greatly depending on their genetic makeup and whether or not they use drugs. However, common signs include:
Absolutely. Many teens (and adults) will try to convince their parents or caregivers that they can stop abusing substances or alcohol without help, but research shows that this is unlikely. Professional substance abuse treatment is their best bet for safely detoxing and learning healthier coping mechanisms. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use or mental health issues, call today to speak confidentially with a recovery expert.
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