Springfield church looks for more answers in city's addiction crisis

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A pastor at one Springfield church is calling for more cooperation in the community to battle addiction. The Well recently hosted the overdose summit, and held a funeral for one of the latest overdose deaths.

The Well operates a redemption ministry for those recovering from addiction or any struggle. They have a 7 p.m. Friday service every week, where they welcome an average of 250 to 300, many of them in recovery.
Organizers invite everyone, even those just off the streets. The church also partner with a lot of local recovery programs, visiting recovery houses throughout the week, and inviting residents to their service.

But there are others who are not in a recovery program, and they need more than a once a week church service. Brandon Lien leads Redemption Ministry at The Well and has trouble knowing where to point them.

"There's a lot of great programs out there," says Lien. "But there's not anybody on both sides of the aisle, coming together to communicate what is available for people when they need help."

Many cannot afford a self-pay program and do not know where they might be able to find grant-funded services.

Lien was happy to see people coming together to talk about addiction at the recent overdose summit. But he believes there needs to be an easier way, one place, for people to go and get connected with the recovery services they need.

"The barrier to begin getting help is such a difficult process, and it requires money," said Lien. "It requires support. The requires some sort of initiative or program that helps people actually get into the door of recovery. Because they can't afford recovery, and it's a difficult thing to get into."

He believes our community needs something like a panel from various organizations interviewing people who need addiction recovery services and directing them to the program that is the best fit.

We spoke with Burrell Behavioral Health, one of the area's largest recovery service providers, about Lien's concerns.

"It really is our job to try to get out where these people are and connect with them," says Burrell's director of communications, Matt Lemmon.

Lemmon says Burrell currently comes in contact with recovery patients through ER referrals, phone calls and walk-ins. But Burrell is exploring the idea of a 24/7 drop in center for recovery services.

"That's a solution that's going to require a all community approach. It's going to require partnerships on the public and private level, but it's something we're exploring and we're excited about looking into," Lemmon says.

He also says Burrell has some grant programs, a sliding scale, and can help people enroll in Medicaid. "There are options, and that should never be a barrier to people seeking treatment," Lemmon says.

To learn more about Burrell's recovery services or The Well's redemption ministry, visit the attached links to the right of this story.