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Neosho Teen Challenge Helps Men Struggling with Addiction

May 28, 2010|Doug Magditch

(Neosho, MO) -- Teen challenge is a program designed to get people back on their feet. It's a religious-based program that takes people out of their homes for treatment. It boasts a 60-70% success rate.

We took a trip to the men's center in Neosho to see how residents they're working to change their lives.

"When when I was 16, 17, 18, I started doing cocaine regularly, smoking crack," says 21-year-old Casey Moore.

Moore, was arrested in 2008. His drug problems started a decade ago. He was 11 when he first smoked pot.

"About 13, 14 years old is when I started doing cocaine, or trying cocaine or prescription pills," says Moore.

Moore says he's been through 5 12-step programs, but the lesson never stuck.

"I was back out doing the same thing in 2 months," Moore.

That's what brought him to Teen Challenge.

"You've got to change the pattern of doing things, otherwise nothing's gonna change," says Moore.

"Daily we see lives changed. There's so many hurting people out there," says Executive Director Jim Lowans.

The 14-month Teen Challenge program takes people out of their environment, so they focus on changing their lives.

"We try to give tools to deal with the real issues in life, and let them see that, okay, you've got something bad going on today.' wait until tomorrow," says Patterson.

For some, Teen Challenge is the best option.

Brad Vinson was facing 120 days in jail for probation violation.

"It was the option to come here, versus that," says Vinson.

Now, it's up to the courts to decide if he'll still go to jail. Completing Teen Challenge can mean a less severe sentence.

"I'm the one saying, 'it's time for you to make a choice.' It's up to you. You can go to jail, or you can decide to get treatment,'" says Stone Co. Prosecutor, Matt Selby.

The program's leaders say only those that really want to change will change.

"Guys will come in because they'd rather go through this than be in jail. Then when they get here, they realize, 'boy there really is something here for me, and I really can change,'" says Lowans.

"Where the success comes is when it goes from, 'I'm doing this to stay out of jail' to where it turns to their saying, 'I'm doing this because I want to do it. Because it's good for me,'" says Selby.
Vinson was dealing drugs in Springfield, Mo.

"I've lived in town for quite awhile, and, yeah, I could usually get it for them if they didn't have it," says Vinson.

Now, he spends his free time on laundry duty.

Casey Moore gardens.

"If I have too much time on my hands, I'm gonna get into trouble," says Moore.

Working outdoors instead of being in the Stone Co Jail, talking with Chaplain Bob Reid.

"I talked to him over a year ago in our little visiting room. I had forgotten totally about it," says Reid.

Reid suggested teen challenge to Moore. A year later, he gave Moore a ride to Neosho.

"Their lives are so out of control, that it's not just about drug addiction or alcohol. It's about a life that's filled with disorder. They can't function in life because they don't have the basic tools," says Reid.

Now, both Moore and Vinson are working to get those basic tools, through a program they say is changing their lives.

"That's why we're here," says Vinson.

There are other rehabilitation options available. It's generally up to a judge to recommend one. Stone County says it offers 30 and 60-day rehabs, as well as state-funded drug court.

To get into the Teen Challenge program, you have to apply and be accepted.

While being a Christian-based organization, it is privately funded.


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