There is no denying meth, drug use and substance abuse are increasingly detrimental problems in the Kosciusko community. This week alone, approximately 36 individuals were booked into the Kosciusko County Jail on drug or alcohol related charges.
In addition, Kosciusko has been ranked third for highest occurrences of meth labs by Indiana State Police within the first six months of 2015. And this is not a new trend. In 2014, the county ranked second for meth lab discoveries.
With the problem growing, many are looking to local law enforcement to crack down on a problem they are already tirelessly working to curb. Blame has also been given to the court system for punishments some believe are not harsh enough. Though many want to examine punishments, few have asked the important question: How do we prevent this problems in the first place? One organization is hoping to become the answer to this question.
True Purpose Ministries addresses these issues by making students out of addicts.
According to True Purpose Ministries Founder Jeremy Graham, the organization is made possible through donations from individual, corporations and contractors that provide job training. The program not only helps to strengthen students spirituality, but help them leave with job skills necessary for leading a productive life.
“Our students not only receive biblical training, but they also leave our program with a vocational discipline that they can use to support their family and break the cycle of poverty,” explained Graham. “True Purpose Ministries feels that long term discipleship is the key. It takes an individual a good part of their life to become addicted to drugs or alcohol and we feel that our one year, intensive biblical discipleship program ultimately changes and transforms them permanently.”
Though there is a belief many cannot truly beat addiction to drugs such as methamphetamine, Graham notes it is entirely possible — he has done it himself.
“I, as the founder of True Purpose, was addicted to meth as well so we know the drug and what it does to people and families. Therefore, we know how to become free from the cycle and addiction of meth and other substances.”
Despite the fact the program ensures all participants are screened and supervised, Graham noted the stigma surrounding these type of facilities is difficult to overcome. The organization recently appeared before the Board of Zoning Appeals in Warsaw to request the use of a facility located at 739 E. Winona Ave., Warsaw. However, that request was thwarted after area residents and business owners complained about the potential harm to the neighborhood and its property values.
“True Purpose Ministries believes that the biggest challenge to starting our program in Warsaw is that of a public stigma of programs like ours,” stated Graham. “Once we can get into the community and people can see our heavy structure and screening process they will realize that we are not a threat to their community or businesses but that we are an asset because lives and families are changing.
Graham added that the program does not accept violent or sexual offenders, and keeps students so busy working positively that there is little time to leave a negative impact on the community. “Our students are monitored by a live-in staff member 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We do understand however the community’s concern and the ‘not in my backyard mentality,’ but sadly it is already in their backyard and their front yard.”