Red Legacy: Help for women recovering from addiction

Published 9:52 am Thursday, February 12, 2015

NW0212 Health Council

Members of the Carter County Health Council heard an update from an agency that helps those with a disease that does not gather much attention: addition.

Red Legacy Director Angelee Murray gave a brief introduction to what Red Legacy offers to its clients and a short history behind the agency.

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Red Legacy serves all of the counties in east Tennessee but 95 percent of the clients served are from Carter County and has been established for three years.

“We support women in their recovery from drug and alcohol addiction,” Murray said. “We help them to become more self-confident and self-sufficient.”

Murray explained the agency provides life skills training, budget and time management skills, GED tutoring, job interview practice, goal setting, tips on dressing for jobs and interviews, a computer lab and relapse and prevention skills. The agency offers a clothes closet, personal care necessities and transportation for clients to and from court and probation dates, job interviews and doctor’s offices.

“80 percent of our clients have no high school diploma or GED,” Murray said. “100 percent of our clients have said they are victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse. Many have been incarcerated and do not have the support system in place for them when they get out. Seven out of 10 of our clients are homeless, which means they have no permanent address. Almost every client has children.”

Murray continued the clients have little family support and rarely have a network in place to support them on their road to recovery.

“They’re not bad people,” she said. “They made some bad decisions while they were under the influence. They did something to go to jail and they need to serve their time but does that mean we need to kick them to the curb when they get out. They have a disease and that is the disease of addiction.”

Murray then told the council she decided to start Red Legacy after her own battle with prescription pain killer addiction. She said she grew up in a Christian home, was always a good student, won a scholarship to college but then became addicted to painkillers after using them for treatments for chronic migraines.

“During the last year, my day depended on those pills,” she said. “They were like oxygen or water, if you don’t have them you can’t function. I still had a support system, but many who find themselves in that position do not. After this, I knew I wanted to help people who are struggling with addiction, especially women.”

Red Legacy has two employees, including Murray, and 30 professional volunteers who host training and workshops for the clients. Murray said the clients were welcome to participate in the agency’s programs for as long as they needed.

In other news, Elizabethton City Schools Coordinated School Health Director Regina Wilder told the council she submitted the application for a Safe Routes to School grant and expected to here back in September.