IJAMSVILLE, Md (WDVM) — In 2018, the state of Maryland reported 2,406 unintentional drug and alcohol-related deaths, an all time high.
Recovery centers can play a big part in addressing the issue, and a local Frederick County center is hoping to expand and house even more of those on the way to recovery.
Joe Tarasuk says he was a successful drug dealer in a past life.
He says his best friend was cocaine and at his lowest point in 1986, he was arrested and sentenced to 35 years in prison.
“I had parents that were drinking. I had a grandfather who that was a bootlegger and I was named after him. It was kind of in my genes to be a rebel,” Joe said.
But after being released only 18-months later, Tarasuk says he relied on his new-found faith to lead him through recovery.
He got married, but Tarasuk’s first wife became addicted to opioids and later passed away.
“I went to the war with her, and it was 18 years of a battle. That was really a critical point in my turn,” said Joe.
It’s through these heavy experiences that he founded CrossRoads Freedom Center.
Taraksuk remarried and together he and his wife, Maria, opened the group home in 2011 on a 40-acre property in Ijamsville.
They currently house eight men who are enrolled in the one-to-two year faith-based recovery program.
“We certainly see them getting clean, where they’re not longer in the throws of those cravings and addictions and things like that, and they begin to get some clarity of mind and begin to think realistically of ‘Where am I’ and ‘What do I need to do to get better?”
Now, they have plans to renovate the entire upstairs portion of the home to house 16 men, and eventually, they hope to total at 25 men.
Work is also being done on the property’s two cottages for future full-time staff.
“There is such a need. The opioid epidemic is real. There are not enough programs that provide the intensive long term residential programs that men need, and women as well. We have the space; we have the capacity, so how could we not?” said Maria.
Tarasuk says state grants totaling about $150,000 have gone a long way towards funding renovations.
They aim to construct about 15 rooms for future residents.