Half-Way House to be built in the TCI for recovering addicts
By Todeline Defralien, TCSun, Sept 21, 2015
With a huge need for a Half-Way House for recovering addicts in the TCI, the Turks and Caicos Drug Prevention Foundation hosted its annual fundraising Masquerade Ball on Friday September 25th, 2015 at Fire & Ice Restaurant, Blue Haven Resort & Marina which was a huge success.
In an interview with The SUN, Dierin Longmire President of the Turks and Caicos Drug Prevention Foundation, said: “I do believe we raised $65,000 between what we raised in cash donations and silent auctions and along with what the Premier Cup gratefully gave us of $20,000. Between our $45,000 and their $20,000 now it is $65,000. I am very happy about that and I am looking to break ground in November and I am looking to start construction in January after the holidays.”
Longmire said they are looking at about 25 rooms initially, but bunk beds can be added if necessary. The building, which will be 6,000sqft, is going to be on South Dock Road, and will cost around $700,000.
She is confident that if they get the support that they need, this half way house can be completed within a year.
She added, “We are trying to raise money for a Half-Way House because the statistics are, there areonly 95-107 inmates in Her Majesty’s Prison at the moment and 95% of those inmates are in there for drug and alcohol related crimes, so what we are trying to do is we’re working on both sides. We’re working on the side that the ones that are in the prison that get maybe an early release but then they have to take an extension period and so they get a three month early release but maybe have to do another six months in the Half way house so they actually end up doing nine months in the half way house”.
She said ”This way we can provide and help assist them in getting jobs, and they can find out that they don’t have to go back to the way that they use to live before, because when you let them out of jail where are they going to go? They’re going to go back to what they know,so we need to put them in a different position and we need to work with them as asociety. We need to accept the fact that they’re addicts and this is a disease and we need to help them.”
“Now on the other side we have these new comers that want to be ‘Big Boys’ and they don’t know what their getting trapped into in the beginning until they find themselves in prison and what we’re doing is we are trying to work with the judicial system on both sides so that these guys that are on their first offences, maybe we can get them into our recovery house and we can help them get straightened out and help them get in jobs.”
Longmire noted that Half-way Houses are all over the world and Turks and Caicos Islands needed one for the past 10 years.
“I have been working with the Drug Unit since 1995.I have been here for 22 years and started the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings 11 years ago. I am a recovering addict myself and I have been in recovery for 25 years. I do the alcoholicsanonymous meetings here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and we are hoping that the group will get bigger and we will go seven days a week. I come from Baltimore, Maryland where we have over a thousand meetings a week and it is a much needed thing and people just turn their eyes and if you turn around and look almost every accident where there is a death related, there is alcohol or drug related involved in that death,” she added.
When asked what do she think this half way house can do for the patients, she added“Those who want to get clean I think this Half way house can change their lives. Those who want to continue to use then we can’thelp. But we will be doing follow ups, it will be mandatory that they do meetings, will be mandatory that they come to the Drug Unit for counseling, there will be something’s that they must do to be able to stay in that house and they will be paying their rent, we are not going to take care of them and they will be buying their own food and cooking it too. They need to learn how to live because when we open the doors and they leave they need to know how to live, we are not going to support them they are going to take care of themselves”.
Photo File: Dierin Longmire President of the Turks and Caicos Drug Prevention Foundation