LAPORTE — Users of heroin and other drugs can now turn to live music and cooking for help in their recoveries.
Frontline Foundations Inc. has more than doubled the space for its faith-based intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment in LaPorte at a new 8,000-square-foot downtown at 714 Lincolnway.
For the first time, clients in the basement can listen or play with the band as part of their therapy in a setting away from temptation, said Amber Hensell-Hicks, executive director of Frontline Foundations.
Also new is a kitchen for teaching how to cook nutritious meals, along with dedicated space for the art program that shared space at the former 3,000-square-foot location.
Allen Grecula, director of clinical services, said music can be productive for recovering addicts by giving them a creative outlet to express what they're going through and relate to the experiences of others.
He said cooking is also a method for self-expression, but knowing how to do it for good nutrition helps avoid eating the wrong things, which can trigger setbacks like depression.
Grecula said the move was not because there were too many clients but to offer more recovery options.
"It gives them a reason to stay plugged in. We know this is a long-term process. We want to have creative outlets for people to stay plugged in for a long time so they can continue to grow," Grecula said.
Frontline Foundations, whose fees are based on income, was founded in 2007 and has another outpatient treatment facility in Chesterton.
Grecula said it was live music at the Chesterton location that drew a response from clients in LaPorte to have a facility close to home.
Frontline Foundations opened in LaPorte three years ago at the request of Pastor Dennis Meyer of Bethany Lutheran Church and other community members with growing concerns particularly about heroin.
Support for what's being done there remains strong, evidenced by a $65,000 grant from the Healthcare Foundation of LaPorte toward the cost of the kitchen.
"We know the need is here, and we want to meet the need," Meyer said.
Hensell-Hicks said there will be an effort to occupy the old facility with services that complement what her organization provides.
"It may be someone who does the medical aspects. A different type of therapy so we don't duplicate services. It could be a completely different type of outreach from whatever to just build upon what we do here," she said.
Hensell-Hicks said whoever goes in there will be given the building after one year.
"We're not going to arrest our way out of this epidemic," said Ron Heeg, chief deputy of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office.