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How two different organizations are making strides to help reduce harm and curb addiction in Memphis

The healthcare system provides free in-patient and out-patient substance use services, mental health resources and now, they’re expanding.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Police Department has already received 783 possible overdose calls between January 1 and April 17, 2023. That’s about 30% of the calls they received in all of 2022.

The numbers aren’t just opioids or fentanyl, but also over-the-counter medicines and prescription drugs. Organizations like "Alliance Healthcare Services" and "A Betor Way" provide resources to people struggling with drug addiction. 

This is a serious battle for Memphians, and many of A Betor Way’s volunteers are on the road to recovery themselves, still wanting to lend a helping hand.

"I know when I was out there, no one looked at me as a human," Brad Yackey said. "They saw me as a junkie and that’s not the case."

Yackey dealt with addiction for years. He now works as the Operational Manager for A Betor Way. The organization works to help those struggling to get through the same recovery process.

“I initially found out about it [when] I was in active drug use and part of my hustle was to sell syringes and I noticed I wasn’t selling as many syringes,” Yackey said.

Giving out free syringes is just one of A Betor Way’s main initiatives to keep people safe from reusing old syringes. The organization also performs HIV testing and outsources clients looking to recover from drug addiction to Alliance Healthcare.

The healthcare system provides free in-patient and out-patient substance use services as well as mental health resources. Next week, they’re expanding to an East Memphis outpatient site.

“Individuals who are experiencing or coming straight out of the crisis center or our in-patient center — or even if they were okay to return to the community but truly needed that intake right then and there — that Yale location is strictly for those acute outpatient services,” Alliance's Danielle Rhodes said.

“So those individuals who need just a little bit more love; a little bit more push, a little bit more check-on — our AOP, or Acute Outpatient Program, is going to be there to give them that extra push.”

Brad said extra resources directly impacting someone in active addiction is one of the biggest roles helping in the recovery process.

“I see people in recovery will get their life back and get a place to live and a car, and they forget that they need to work on their recovery, and then they pick up and now they’re dead, and it’s sad,” Yackey said. “I’m tired of going to funerals, you know?”

Now, with both the help of A Betor Way and support from family and friends, Yackey is in recovery and welcoming a new life into the world.

Credit: Brad Yackey
Brad Yackey, his wife and newborn

“A new baby — I was able to be present there [for] and those are the gifts that you can’t put a price tag on,” Yackey said.

A heartwarming story and only the beginning for A Betor Way and Alliance Healthcare. 

Alliance’s new outpatient center will open their doors on April 24 focusing on mental health services and redirecting those dealing with addiction to their other locations. For immediate help, contact 1-800-662-4357.

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