LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The number of deaths from opioid overdoses hit a record high in 2018. In response, a mom in New Jersey opened a recovery community center for those who need help after treatment.
Seeking treatment is a key step in fighting addiction, but the time immediately after is just as crucial in preventing relapse. That’s where Donna Catlow hopes Xodus can come in.
“I do this because I have three sons in recovery,” the center’s director says.
Catlow tried to find a place for her sons to get the support they needed after all three were treated for drug addiction, so she started Xodus in Forked River. It’s a non-clinical recovery continuing care center focusing on the long term, with workshops for those just recovering, dealing with nutrition, employment, and further education.
It’s all free of charge, thanks in-part to state funding.
“If you need to learn how to write a resume, getting back into college. When my son wanted to go back he had no idea how to do that,” Catlow said.
Her son is now 11 months in recovery, a married father and a business owner.
“Being on the other side, my mom being uneducated thinking she was a bad mom, thinking ‘how did I let this happen to my boys’, not knowing that we were dealing with addiction,” Joel Pomales said.
Today, Pomales is a state-certified peer recovery coach teaching workshops like family-life, budgeting, and financial planning.
“We have such a huge lack of recovery and support for people,” Pomales said. “This is going to save a lot of lives.”
In 2018, deaths from drug overdoses in New Jersey surpassed 3,000 for the first time.
“We’re not going to arrest our way out of the heroin issue,” Lacey Township Police Chief Michael Dibella said.
Dibella sees former addicts who lose their way after treatment.
“This recovery center was the missing link, or component, here in the township and I’m very grateful,” Dibella said.
But is the model sustainable, and can it be applied to other cities?
“We look to places like this because this is the model for what we need to do going forward,” Barnegat Township Police Chief Keith Germain said.
Chief Germain sees the impact Xodus has had, and is working on a similar program for his town.
Walk ins are always welcome at Catlow’s facility, where everyone in the building is a volunteer.