My Sister’s Keeper

2014 ANNUAL ASSEMBLY – Crime/Drugs Testimony

Loretta Martin Testimony

Photo Credit: Daily Progress

Loretta Martin, New Beginnings Christian Community

Good evening. My name is Loretta and I would like to take this opportunity to address the assembly about my family’s struggle with finding good drug and alcohol treatment program for women.

My sister is a long term alcohol and drug abuser which has caused a significant effect on her ability to make good choices. She is incapable of accessing resources for herself. My sister has been at the local hospital many times for alcoholism and substance abuse. Many times we have been turned away from the psychiatric floor and told to contact Region Ten during office hours. She is now receiving Social Security but cannot find housing.  I have submitted an application for rapid re-housing which we have not heard anything back yet.

She has been arrested more times that I can count for drunkenness’ in public. It is a non-violent offense, a petty crime, but because there is no safe haven for women she always ends up in jail.  I continue to search for all available community resources to help her find housing but no luck so far.  She was sent to a shelter program in Richmond but that turned out to be a disaster.  My daughter and I ended up driving to Richmond to bring her back to familiar surroundings.  After 2 weeks of being around family and friends the old habits began to re-surface again and she ended up back on the streets.  She is now in Roanoke where she was enrolled in a drug program but according to other family she is no longer in the program.

If there were some programs for women with alcohol/drug problems in the local area, families could stay connected and then maybe the healing would begin.   We have tried all possible avenues to find assistance in the area that would help her with her addictions.  But every time we search for help we are told to go to Roanoke, or another state; somewhere that makes it hard for my family to readily be there for her. I pray that she is O.K. and that God will continue to watch over her. “Am I my sister’s keeper? Yes I am” and I and my family will continue the fight to find the care she needs.