MADISONVILLE, Tenn. — One former addict is fighting the opioid epidemic in Monroe County with a new option for women looking for help. It's called Transformation Haven Ministries.
Former Madisonville resident Selena Rider started plans for the rehabilitation center about two months ago. Rider knows what those dealing with drug addiction are going through.
She said she grew up with parents who were addicts and became addicted to drugs herself while living in Madisonville. She knows what it feels like to hit rock bottom.
"I was arrested several times, I lost custody of my children, and knew that I needed help," Rider said.
Rider found long-term recovery in Alabama seven years ago. Since then, she's traveled the country helping other addicts recover.
Now, that mission has brought her home to East Tennessee.
"I felt like what better place to go back to than to the place where I became an addict and give back to the community," Rider said.
A family member sold her a house in Madisonville that can house 22 women who need drug rehabilitation. She just purchased it a month ago.
"I sold everything that I had in my house to come up with the money to pay the down payment for this facility," Rider said.
Since then, she's registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and is working with groups in Madisonville and Monroe County to fix up the house and start her ministry.
Transformation will be a cheaper alternative to expensive rehab programs Rider said can scare addicts away. Aside from a $200 entrance fee to cover some medical costs, her year-long program will be free.
"We will basically run only off of donations, no state, federal or government funding," Rider said.
Monroe County Sheriff Tommy Jones arrested Rider many times when she was on drugs.
Now, he's one of her biggest supporters.
"I'm very impressed on seeing the transformation that she went through from being a drug addict to now being a counselor to creating rehab centers, and I'm very proud of what she's become," Rider said.
Several groups and companies in Madisonville are helping to fix up the house and donate items to Transformation Haven.
It isn't quite ready to open, but Rider said she's already received 15 calls from women who want her help.
Jones said two other faith-based rehab facilities are coming to Monroe County. He hopes between those and Rider's program, they can work to curb the opioid epidemic in the county.
If you're interested in donating to Transformation Haven, or you or someone you know is interested in enrolling in the program, you can call Rider at 865-221-3943.
You can also visit their Facebook page.