Shepherd’s House director meets with governor, Barr and Ben Carson in Frankfort

Published 9:33 pm Saturday, February 3, 2018

Boyle County’s efforts to help those battling drug addiction got some state- and national-level attention on Jan. 25, when Jerod Thomas, director of the Shepherd’s House Intensive Outpatient Program, met with Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, Congressman Andy Barr and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson in Frankfort.

“They were blown away by our numbers, with the amount of money that’s been saved by putting them in the IOP,” Thomas said. “Everything we do in Boyle County, we measure … They were blown away by the amount of money a county can save by having one of these programs instead of housing people in jail … Everybody just thought it was genius idea.”

Thomas was invited to the meeting, along with a handful of representatives from other treatment and transitional facilities in Kentucky, including Chrysalis House in Lexington, Revive Ministries in Nicholasville and St. James Place in Lexington. Part of the discussion included ways to get additional federal funding to programs like the Shepherd’s House program.

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“In the process, they asked us questions and wanted to know what we did and what we specialized in. A big part of what I told them about was the Boyle County day-reporting IOP program,” Thomas said. “It’s the first-ever partnership in a community where the entire community takes responsibility for getting their people who are addicted, getting them the help they need.”

Thomas said he shared the involvement of the county government, specifically Jailer Barry Harmon, Judge-Executive Harold McKinney and County Treasurer Mary Conley.

“It was actually a genius idea on Boyle County’s part. They came to me with it; I didn’t come to them with it,” Thomas said.

“As soon as I said that, one thing they remarked is, ‘That’s what we’ve been preaching forever, partnerships.’” 

The Shepherd’s House program provides job training, resume building, community service time, drug counseling and more services to former inmates of the Boyle County Detention Center, who qualify to be released while they participate in the program and work toward graduation. Several different groups help provide the services, including a mental health provider and Circle of Hope, a local group whose goal is helping people overcome drug addiction.

“These guys (former inmates) are getting multiple services at once. The one thing I preach to them is, ‘You can’t just treat the drug addiction or alcoholism, you’ve got to treat every issue they’ve got all at once.’ If you just get them sober, then mental health will take them out,” Thomas said. “That’s what blew them away. You would think it’s a pretty simple solution, but we’re actually the first group that’s doing it — treating them for everything at once, treating the whole person.”

Learn more about the numbers by reading here: Shepherd’s House says IOP saving Boyle money, rebuilding clients’ lives