Oprah Gives Large Sum to N.J. Substance Abuse Center, Integrity House

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New Jersey-based substance abuse rehabilitation center Integrity House has received a $500,000 gift from the Oprah Winfrey Foundation for programming and renovation of facilities to help recovering female drug addicts.

New Jersey-based substance abuse rehabilitation center Integrity House has received a $500,000 gift from the Oprah Winfrey Foundation for programming and renovation of facilities to help recovering female drug addicts.

This gift will allow Integrity House to expand the Integrity Initiative for Women and Children. The program addresses the unique needs of women through family stabilization, substance abuse treatment and intensive case management. A dire and relatively unmet need for treatment of mothers with their children exists throughout New Jersey. Integrity House's ultimate goal with this program is family reunification with a capable and safe mother who is clean, sober, healthy and self-sufficient.

Oprah has seen the value and effectiveness of our therapeutic model, a program of love and encouragement and long-term change to help people recover from drug addiction. Oprah's generosity will empower countless women to help themselves and each other to reclaim their lives."

Through this generous donation, Integrity House will complete renovations of a three-story Victorian home on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Newark, which will provide outpatient treatment and support services for 60 female drug addicts and their children.

Integrity House is celebrating its 40th year providing substance abuse treatment to those in need. In fact, Kerr authored the first national definition of the Therapeutic Community treatment model in 1981. This model of treatment spans five years, beginning with residential treatment bridging to halfway house care followed by transitional housing then outpatient treatment and finally continued case management and mentoring. When this model is followed, there is an 85 percent chance for continued sobriety according to research, said Kerr, whose office displays an eclectic collection of turtle figurines, which symbolize the adage "slow and steady wins the race."

Kerr added that following this protocol actually enhances public safety, since real behavior change occurs, not just detoxification.

Entrepreneurship Program Funded
Following completion of building renovations, remaining funds will go towards Integrity's pilot program for recovering addict women entrepreneurs in Newark. Through this program, former women addicts will receive support and guidance in re-entering the workplace, as well as mentorship from those who have taken the same journey and turned it into personal success and self-reliance. With seed money from Oprah, Integrity House will be working with Rutgers University and other groups to create an entrepreneurship program for all female addicts in recovery who have completed treatment and need work. "We can't just sit back and wait for jobs to appear for these women, especially in this economy. Our women will create their own opportunities and employment"…"You alone must do it, but you can't do it alone."

Realizing that the problem of substance abuse is a disease and requires a full family and community response, Kerr inspired the establishment of the community consortium called the Bridge to Recovery in 1999, in which 200 people join for breakfast every month to network and problem-confront key issues in addiction recovery
To donate to Integrity House, call (973) 623-7246.

About Integrity House:
Integrity House is a drug treatment and prevention agency dedicated to helping all who request assistance including men, women and youth as young as 14. For decades, it has been testing and establishing new protocols for recovery through lifestyle change to ensure long-term results and improved quality of life. Its mission is to help individuals and families through an effective and measurable system of comprehensive Therapeutic Community addiction treatments and recovery support. The focus has always been on long-term and permanent, positive lifestyle change. Through its facilities in Newark, N.J., and Secaucus, N.J., Integrity House provides residential treatment to substance abuse addicts from all socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities, and supports recovering addicts for years through its out-patient and mentoring services.

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Darcie Borden
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