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A home for hope: Brown County's first long-term addiction treatment center for men

Posted at 10:43 PM, Dec 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-05 13:13:35-05

HOWARD — After a lengthy search, a men's addiction recovery facility has finally found its home in Howard. Adult and Teen Challenge Northeast Wisconsin is in the process of renovating and opening a men's faith-based residential treatment program, the only one of its kind in the Green Bay area.

"It's no secret over the years addiction is growing rampant here in the Northeastern Wisconsin area," Vaushawn Johnson, the program's executive director said. "This program actually came about by a few locals who took notice of that and contacted our national office in Ozark, Missouri and said we need to bring a residential Adult Teen Challenge to the area."

Johnson said Adult and Teen Challenge programs have been around for 60 years, and there are over 200 residential centers for men and women throughout the country. The 15,300-square-foot facility will house up to 24 men who are 18 or older.

"We don't discriminate against age. We've had men in our program anywhere from 18 to 64," Johnson said.

He said the program is a year long, and recovery includes chapel, therapy classes, community service and family events. Residents also have opportunities to practice skills like wood shopping or working with small engines.

The program's success rate is 78% and is four levels emphasizing therapeutic, spiritual and community-based approaches. Treatment is tailored to each resident's specific needs to address their substance addictions as well.

"What they can expect is this is going to be a safe environment. This is going to be a secure environment, and it's going to be a loving environment," Johnson said. "We try to be person-centered. We find out each person's pain points, hurts and hang-ups, regrets and things that contribute to their addiction."

The program operates entirely off donations, and they're currently running an Adopt-A-Room program to help generate funds for the facility's opening.

Johnson said they are "very grateful" for donations because it gives them a unique opportunity to provide free treatment to those in need.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, that need is greater than ever right now. From 2014 to 2021, opioid overdoses in Brown County increased over 500%, with 197 overdoses in 2021.

Additionally, Johnson said "70% of those who are struggling with relapsing or addiction are men," so it's "essential" to start with a men's program in Brown County.

"There's so many people dying from addiction in this area. There's a lot of parents losing their kids, and there's a lot of kids losing their parents," Johnson said. "I think that in itself is enough for us to come in town and do what we can and be a part of the solution."

Renovations are underway for the facility and are expected to go until May. The program is on track to open its doors and welcome residents starting June 2023.