Moving Acadiana Forward: Safe House Sober Living

Lafayette Parish

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — There’s a new sober living house for women in Lafayette. Their hope is to help curb the rising number of overdose deaths in our community.

“This house is specifically for women. It’s Safe House Sober Living. We provide low-cost transitional housing for women in recovery,” says John Nugent the Executive Director of Safe House.

In Lafayette Parish, there was a 51% increase in overdose deaths between 2019 and 2020. 83 people died from a drug overdose in 2020, while 55 people died in 2019, according to the corners office.

“These homes give them a safe place to process their experiences and we give them the tools to help them become more productive citizens. It also helps rebuild and restore healthy peer and community relationships,” says Nugent.

Last week, President Biden signed a new law that will help fight the opioid crisis in Louisiana. Introduced by Senator John Kennedy, the DUMP Opioids Act allows people to drop off their prescription medication that they no longer need in secure VA drop boxes.

“The purpose is so fewer people have the chance to start or feed an opioid addiction,” says Senator Kennedy.

Nugent explains that some people become addicted to prescriptions after taking them for legitimate reasons.

“Sadly, once their body has become so used to that substance, they continue to need it. If they can’t get it through legal means such as doctors and prescriptions, then they are going to the streets to find it and that’s where we’re seeing a lot of the heroine, and most recently, fentanyl overdoses. Because it’s a much stronger drug.”

The men’s Safe House is currently full and the women’s house is filling quickly.

“Our goal is to have so many of the safe houses all throughout Lafayette.  You know how you go into a neighborhood and you see a Dollar General on almost every corner? That’s what we want with Safe House.  Then eventually become so successful that we put ourselves out of business,” says Nugent.

According to Nugent, only about 15% of people who struggle with addiction get treatment. Once they get through treatment only about 10% make it to one year of sobriety. He says looking at those statistics shows how important services for people struggling with addiction are in our community.

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