- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A faith-based group is expanding its addiction treatment programs in south-central Alaska’s Matanuska-Susitna Borough after receiving a $250,000 grant from the state.

Set Free Alaska runs an outpatient-based program that helps more than 120 women and children. The organization now plans to open an in-patient residential treatment in August, KTUU-TV reported (https://bit.ly/2mKtSQt).

Earlier this year, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced it was giving Set Free Alaska a grant to set up the in-patient treatment program for up to 16 women, including those who are pregnant. The organization then went to the Mat-Su Health Foundation and secured $1.5 million to purchase a former charter school building, between Wasilla and Palmer.

Phillip Licht, Set Free Alaska’s executive director, said the new facility will offer clients a structured environment to help them overcome the temptations of drug addiction.

“First, when there’s severe addiction, you want to have a really restrictive environment that’s going to be very, very protective,” Licht said. “And then we start to loosen that up over time, as they’re learning skills to be in recovery.”

Jennifer Johnson, who recovered from drug and alcohol addiction through the group’s outpatient program, said it is important for people struggling with addictions to never give up hope.

“And no matter how deep in the hole they get, or how bad it is, or how bad they think they might have mess up, it’s never too late to put your hand up and get help,” Johnson said.

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Information from: KTUU-TV, https://www.ktuu.com

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