Recovering Fulton drug addict calls for support to start a new shelter

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FULTON - What started as a Fulton Facebook post, sharing an idea for a new shelter for recovering addicts, turned into a network of support for those struggling with drug abuse.

Kaylea Sharp, 26, posted in a Fulton community Facebook page the story of her battle with addiction to meth and heroine. She has been clean for about three years and since then has been trying to come up with how she can help others in situations like herself.

In Fulton there is only one shelter called Our House that has two houses, Haven House and Wiley House.

Sharp's idea for a new shelter in Fulton is based on a "shelter for all" mentality, despite prior convictions or gender. She also said she wants people to work at the shelter that have recovered from addiction themselves. The idea creates a similar "barrier-free" mentality that's becoming more popular nationally. Recovering drug addicts would not need to become sober to get help.

Valley Hope is a substance abuse treatment program in Boonville. KOMU 8 news talked to the program director about addiction rehabilitation.

Program director Donette Cornett said having recovered addicts in the mix during rehabilitation is the glue.

"It holds their recovery program together, how they support each other, encourage each other," Cornett said.

She said she feels blessed to finally feel in charge of her addiction despite years of feeling like she can't get away from the temptation in Fulton.

"That's all that I've known is drugs. Everyone that I've grown up around, friends, everything, they've all either used drugs or their families used drugs," Sharp said. 

"To me drugs were normal, that's how I coped with life," she said.

Sharp spent time in prison twice on drug possession charges. She said she hopes the fact she feels she has been at rock bottom, even spending about two years homeless, she can be a relatable resource to others.

"I want to let people know there is another way, but you gotta want it you can't expect someone else to do all the foot work," Sharp said.

Cornett referred to cancer and how when a cancer patient goes into remission and then the cancer comes back the family treats the patient with love support. She said the societal reaction to a drug addict struggling from a disease is the opposite, but it needs the same nurturing to recover.

"It doesn't feel like it's a disease, like cancer, it feels much more of an offensive thing because it causes people to do things they wouldn't normally do," Cornett said.

In the Facebook post, Sharp shared that helping those struggling with addiction doesn't have to be huge gesture, it can be as simple as asking if an individual that is high on drugs if they are okay.

She said there are two things that have kept her on the straight and narrow. First, meeting her husband who has supported her clean lifestyle. Second, getting pregnant and later having two more children over the past few years.

"I will always have a label on me and I'm alright with that," she said. "But I think there needs to be more support and less judging [in Fulton]."

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