Recovery housing key to reducing OD deaths, county group says

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 8:00 PM

Recovering drug users Sarah Northrop-Fowler, Andrew Leadford and Cory Kabara (right), all discussed the importance of recovery housing Thursday at a Community Overdose Action Team monthly update. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
Chris Stewart
Recovering drug users Sarah Northrop-Fowler, Andrew Leadford and Cory Kabara (right), all discussed the importance of recovery housing Thursday at a Community Overdose Action Team monthly update. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF(Chris Stewart)

Overdose deaths in Montgomery County are at the year’s lowest level — about 40 a month — after hitting a high of 80 in May. Now, a community team working on the problem believes a key to reducing the number further is through longer-term recovery housing, which can lower the odds of relapse.

Experts say drug addiction doesn’t end after a month or two in a treatment program. To keep recovering addicts from going back to their old friends and habits requires a transition from treatment back into jobs and the community.

RELATED: Ohio invests big in opening recovery houses for heroin addicts

Cory Kabara, 33, spent nine months in a treatment program and now credits his continued sobriety to the structure provided by a recovery house in a local neighborhood.

“Every single day of the week, we have something to do,” Kabara, a Lima native, said. “At first it can seem overwhelming, but there’s a plan behind it – learning how to deal with life in a positive way … and helping others in the process.”

MORE: 2016 deadliest year for overdoses, fentanyl deaths more than double

Recovery houses located in residential areas is a focus of faith-based organizations, nonprofits, some private citizens and the state of Ohio through county drug boards.

Joshua Recovery Ministries, where Kabara is now a house steward, operates four Dayton-area recovery houses, some of which are supported by the Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services (ADAMHS).

In all, the ADAMHS board is affiliated with seven providers operating nine local recovery houses with the ability to serve 30 women and 25 men.

“A safe place to recover is vitally important,” Helen Jones-Kelley, ADAMHS’ executive director, said. “Recovery housing relies on peer support and building a mindset and supportive network that individuals can take with them as they transition back into the community.”

Sarah Northrop-Fowler battled addiction for more than half her 31 years. During that time she divorced, lost custody of her son, served time in prison and was brought back to life twice with Narcan, the overdose reversal drug.

“I was homeless, penniless, hopeless. A truly walking, lifeless shell,” she said.

Residing in a Lighthouse Project recovery house has helped her live the last 10 months free of drugs, Northrop-Fowler said.

RELATED: Montgomery County OD crisis: ‘We are nowhere near achieving our goal’

The peer-supported arrangement is not to be confused with a group home, Jones-Kelley said. The housing is designed for those well along in their recovery to provide a safe environment supportive of abstinence and help connect residents to community services. The houses are also meant to build structure and routine and to promote life skills development aimed toward employment.

But not everyone approves of recovering addicts living next door.

A group that purchased the Branch of the Vine Church in Miamisburg for recovery housing met resistance this summer by some nearby residents. In 2016, fire engulfed a house on Berwyck Avenue in Harrison Twp. as it underwent renovations to house recovering addicts.

MORE: Drug addict recovery group’s plan for church irks Miamisburg residents

“I just ask that you be open-minded in considering the benefits that the cities and schools and our children and the once-broken homes could gain while allowing those like myself the opportunity to become clean,” Northrop-Fowler said.

Northrop-Fowler, Kabara and another man in recovery housing, Andrew Leadford, 34, all made the case for the need for recovery houses on Thursday at a Community Overdose Action Team (COAT) update to the community.

Since 2014, the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services has invested resources to bring online more than 1,000 recovery housing beds statewide, said spokesman Eric Wandersleben.

“Expanding access to housing remains a key priority and is considered a core tenet of the long-term recovery paradigm,” said Wandersleben.

The latest biennial state budget includes more than $25 million for recovery-oriented system of care that incorporates vital supports housing, peer services and employment as part of the acute care model. In Montgomery County, about $789,000 of Human Services Levy funding is spent for recovery housing matched by federal and state funds, said Jones-Kelley.

Giving a recovering addict a place in the housing comes at a lower cost than jail, according to a 2013 state study. One report showed a per-tenant savings of $29,000 compared to not putting them in housing.

Last year, 4,050 Ohioans died from unintentional drug overdoses, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Fentanyl and extremely potent related synthetic opioids were involved in 58 percent of the deaths. In Montgomery County, 349 people died during 2016 from overdoses, 251 due to fentanyl or analogues.

“I know this epidemic is troublesome to say the least. But there’s so much hope,” Kabara said. “I’ve seen guys come into Joshua Recovery Ministries with nothing – I swear to you nothing but the clothes on their back – and they leave with the custody of their kids.”

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Rain continues into the morning; wet commute, reduced visibility expected

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 3:53 AM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini looks at the rain Wednesday and who could see some light freezing rain Thursday.

>> Record-breaking warmth this week 


  • Rain returns this morning, chance storm
  • Rounds of rain continue into weekend
  • Flood threat lingers

>> 5-Day Forecast


TODAY: Rain with the chance for a few thunderstorms will continue to move into the Miami Valley this morning. The commute will likely be wet so drivers should slow down and watch for pockets of heavy rain that could drop visibility. A very mild morning, but temperatures drop during the day behind the cold front to the upper 30s and low 40s by the end of the afternoon. Rounds of rain showers continue through the afternoon and evening hours, but won’t be as heavy. The roads will stay wet for the drive home and it could get cold enough at night for some freezing rain to develop. 

>> County-by-County Weather

THURSDAY: Temperatures, especially in the northern Miami Valey, should reach the low to mid 40s. Scattered rain showers in the morning will mix with freezing rain in some spots, however, temperatures will quickly climb to above freezing, limiting any major impact. Road temperature may also stay warm enough to limit problems, but conditions could get slick briefly in some areas. The rest of the day will be dry in most cities as highs reach the upper 40s. 

FRIDAY: Another wave of energy will bring widespread showers back to the Miami Valley. It’ll be breezy with highs in the upper 50s. Rain may fall heavy in some spots, keeping the flood threat elevated for low lying cities, creeks, and streams. 

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

SATURDAY: We’ll see scattered showers at times, especially in the afternoon. A breezy day with highs in the upper 50s. 

SUNDAY: Morning showers come to an end with it being windy and cooler at times as highs peak in the low 50s. These temperatures will drop quickly into the evening. 

WHIO Weather App

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Man suffers life-threatening injuries after being ejected from vehicle in Springfield crash

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 5:30 AM
Updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 6:56 AM

Springfield crash seriously injures one person

UPDATE @ 6:15 a.m: One man suffered life-threatening injuries after being ejected from the vehicle he was driving in a Springfield crash Wednesday morning, according to officials.

>> Driver extricated, highway reopens after crash on SB I-75

Springfield police say the man was traveling south on Limestone Street at a high-rate speed when he hit a tree and then hit a pole just after 4 a.m.

He was taken to an area hospital.

Limestone Street was blocked off as a result of the crash.

A traffic reconstruction team responded to the scene as well. 


One person sustained serious injuries in a single-vehicle crash early Wednesday morning.

The crash happened shortly after 4 a.m. on Limestone Street near Chestnut Avenue, according to reports. One person sustained a serious injury, and a traffic reconstruction team is responding.

This story will be updated as we learn additional details.

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Outages reported after tree falls on wires in Jefferson Twp.

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 6:27 AM

Several people are without power this morning after a tree fell overnight

Nearly 200 people are without power in Montgomery County after a tree fell on wires.

The tree fell in the area of Dayton Liberty and Forney roads. 

>> Rain continues into morning; wet commute, reduced visibility expected

The incident happened as a line of storms with heavy rain and strong storms moved through the area. 

Dayton Power 7 Light said they expect power to be restored by 9:30 a.m.

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Dayton traffic from the WHIO Traffic Center

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 3:49 AM
Updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 5:03 AM

2 lanes of I-75N closed after two-vehicle crash
2 lanes of I-75N closed after two-vehicle crash

Traffic issues can be reported by calling our newsroom at 937-259-2237 or tweeting @WHIOTraffic .

Traffic conditions are updated every six minutes on AM 1290 and News 95.7 FM.

Major Highway Incidents

  • No incidents to report

Surface Street Incidents 

  • At Limestone Street and Chesnut Avenue in Springfield, a serious single-vehicle crash was reported around 4:03 a.m. A traffic reconstruction team has been called to the scene.

>> RELATED: WHIO App-Winter

>> RELATED: Track the latest conditions in your neighborhood on our live WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Ongoing Construction & Other Closures 

Live look at highways on our traffic cameras here.

Latest traffic conditions are also available on our traffic map. 


  • Keowee Street north of Stanley Avenue, bridge closed until 2019. The official detour is: Keowee Street to Stanley Avenue to I-75 to Wagner Ford Road and back to Dixie. More information is available here.
  • Stewart Street Ramp to US 35 East, RAMP CLOSURE March 28 - Sept 30, 2018. The official detour is: Stewart Street to Edwin C. Moses Boulevard to I-75 north to US 35 west to James H. McGee Blvd. to US 35 east.
  • I-75 north Ramp to US 35 west and east, Lane width restriction until Apr. 1, 2018. One lane will remain open on the ramp with a width of 11 feet.


  • SR 47 between Fifth Avenue and Wilkinson Avenue, Lane closures Jan. 21 - Nov. 27. One lane will remain open in each direction at all times. 

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