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|Pastor sheds light on addiction treatment|
Rev. Gary Howington appeared before the Vidalia Town Council Tuesday night to "bring awareness."
Howington, pastor of Pentecostals of the Miss-Lou, wanted to bring to light that the church is offering a free alcohol and chemical treatment program called ACTS.
The community service program, staffed by trained volunteers, is the only type program in the area. Currently those seeking assistance for addictive disorders must go outside the Miss-Lou area for treatment.
Howington said A.C.T.S. is designed to help the individual or family deal with the problems associated with alcohol and chemical abuses. He said the program does not press or promote religious beliefs or doctrines.
"This is a help ministry for our community," said Howington. "We are not seeking anything, we just want to bring as much awareness as we can."
"It is not a detox unit, but a volunteer support group with a level of accountability," he explained.
Those participating in the program would meet at least weekly and maybe even twice a week.
"This program is open for anybody needing help and I believe in the value of a program like this," said Howington.
He said the program has been in effect at the church for awhile but have vowed a renewed commitment to the program after learning of the success at a Columbia, MS, based church.
There the program is claiming a 60 to 70 percent success rate, which is greater than many other treatment programs.
ACTS is operated under the direction of the Home Missions Department of the United Pentecostal Church International.
The Vidalia Town Council unanimously voted to endorse the effort.
"This is something we have been looking for," said Mayor Hyram Copeland. "This will be a tremendous asset. We have had trouble locating programs like this before for those who needed help."
Howington asked that anyone interested in the program, should contact the church or Vidalia City Hall for further information.
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