Community Spotlight: Faith Based Drug Treatment Program

November 28, 2006 - Posted at 5:50 p.m. CST

POINSETT COUNTY, AR -- Region 8, like many parts of the country, is fighting the war on drugs and the devastating effects on users and their families. However a new drug treatment program in Poinsett County is using the word of God and seeing tremendous success.

At first glance it's hard to imagine this is a drug treatment center.

"No words can explain it to see these people get their lives straight with the lord get off of drugs and have a good life," said Ed Fortson Fortson is fighting his own war on drugs.

The Trumann native has placed thousands of people in faith based drug rehab centers across the country but he saw an immediate need for one in his backyard of Poinsett County.

"It's just amazing what god does for these people," said Fortson.

At God's New Life Mission they believe participants in the program don't have drug problems, they have Jesus problems and incorporating God's word is the key to a successful life.

"I first came here and didn't believe much in the whole Jesus thing I just knew I wanted some help," said Assistant Resident Director Ronnie Jamieson, "But in the process Jesus touched my life not from the outside in but from the inside out."

Jamison went through the eight month program more than a decade ago.

"I look back at myself. I was addicted to crack cocaine, meth, pills, heroin you name it I was a trash can junky for more than 15 years," said Jamison.

Jamison like many of the other staff members are graduates and lives full time at the center. Basically volunteers, the staff's payment is the opportunity to give back. The backbone of the program is more than 5 1/2 hours of bible study a day for eight months, but ultimately the residents have to want to make life changes for it to work.

"This is a long term commitment. It took you a long time for you to get your life in the mess you are in so it will take a little bit of time," said Jamieson.

The program foster's a family environment and has an astounding success rate.

"People can say what they want to but I have seen god work a many, many miracles," said Fortson.

The program has 40 participants and space to expand to 70. God's New Life Mission Center is one of 13 centers of its kind in the country.  It also includes another location in Paragould. The program is free to participants and is non-profit organization that survives with donations from individuals and churches in the area. For more information, contact the God's New Life Mission Center in Marked Tree at (870) 358-4851 or Ed Fortson at (870) 483-7548.