New SEK Recovery House opens in Iola

The SEK substance misuse prevention coalition plans to open safe houses in all six counties they cover.

IOLA, Kan.–For those suffering from substance abuse, breaking the cycle of addiction can be an everyday battle. But a Southeast Kansas coalition is working to help those people find recovery.

“Our house here is meant to alleviate some of that some of the barriers to attaining recovery and long term sobriety,” said April Jackson, Rural Health Coordinator for Thrive Allen County and Program Director of the Southeast Kansas Substance Misuse Prevention Coalition.

That house, is now known as the Southeast Kansas Recovery House, and on Tuesday, celebrated an official opening with a ribbon-cutting.

Courtesy Kate Schroeder

Jackson said the house will help those battling addiction, finally break that cycle.

“When you’re coming from inpatient treatment back into your home, it could be an unsafe environment. It could be the environment that you maybe went to jail. If it’s still unsafe. as far as people still using substances or not just having a good recovery support network at home…our house here is meant to alleviate some of that some of the barriers to attaining recovery and long term sobriety,” Jackson said.

The project started as an idea back in October, and now seven months later, is a reality. And it’s thanks in part to a donation from a local family. 

“At the first of the year, we had a major donation of a house of contents from…a lady who had passed away and her family donated the house of her contents. And so that just really helped us get the big push over going and getting going,” Jackson said.

The SEK recovery house is a type of transitional housing, meaning it’s not long term and they aren’t a treatment house. Jackson described it as a way for residents to meet their recovery goals.

“We work with our residents to help them obtain employment and transition into more permanent housing and whatever their goals are for their recovery. We’ll work with them to and support them in that.”

Jackson and Thrive Allen County aren’t working alone, volunteers from the AmeriCorps senior program like Sandy Haggard are also lending a helping hand.

“One of our objectives is for our volunteers to help with the opioid crisis as that national program sees it. That’s a huge problem in our country,” said Haggard. “We don’t want medication sitting on somebody’s dining room table that someone visiting can come and just take their opioids, their painkillers and just take them home and then potentially become people who need recovery themselves. and so anything that we can do to have medication safety be safe for our older adults the better.”

This is the start of the Southeast Kansas Substance Misuse prevention Coalition’s recovery houses, and they say it’s just the beginning. In the future, they say they would like to open recovery houses in all six counties they cover. That includes Allen, Bourbon, Neosho, Coffey, Wilson, and Watson counties.