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Treatment center highlighted at Hot Topics coffee

Julie Rach
Vic Johns was one of the featured speakers at the February Hot Topics at Scooter's Coffee. Johns explained how he and his wife, Jeri, came to put together the new Mission Field Treatment Center. The facility's Clinical Director, Craig Woolard, also spoke at Hot Topics via videoconference from Florida.

A Christian-based treatment center for substance abuse issues will open in Nebraska City later this year.

Vic and Jeri Johns were the featured speakers at the February Hot Topics to discuss the Mission Field treatment center that they are putting together on the site of Duff’s Friendship Villa.

Vic Johns said he and the Mission Field team have determined that Nebraska City and the surrounding area have a shortage of treatment options for those who have substance abuse problems.

“We’re very convinced  that it’s best handled with a faith-based education program,” he said.

Woolard, who has 30 years experience in the mental health field, said he became interested in a Nebraska City treatment center because the project brought him back to the reason he got into his chosen field: to help people.

Woolard said the center will offer a 24-hour nursing and support staff, and it will offer inpatient and outpatient services to 26 to 32 clients at a time.

Woolard said he anticipates most people will stay in the center from 30 to 60 days.

Scholarships will be available for some patients who cannot afford the cost of care, but the majority of the patients will be those with private-payor insurance, said Johns.

The center will not take clients with a violent criminal history or those with a history of sexual crimes, said Johns.

Woolard said local jobs will also be created by opening the center.

He said initial plans call for a staff of 14, and the staff will grow as needs dictate.

Johns said volunteers from the community and from local churches will also be part of the center, leading Bible studies, providing music, or teaching classes to the clients.

The center will emphasize individual and family therapy, said Woolard, because studies have shown clients with a strong support system of family and friends have a better chance of not relapsing into abuse after treatment.

Not having a strong support system, in fact, is one of the main reasons treatment is unsuccessful, said Woolard, with the other being that the client is not serious about the treatment program and becoming sober.

Johns concluded the presentation with a question.

“I’ve had people ask, ‘Why Nebraska City?” he said. “My answer is why not? This community has a history of helping people.”

He noted the successes of the Nebraska Center for the Education of Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired and Region V Services.

Johns said he believes the project was “divinely inspired.”

“There’s no other way I could have met the caliber of people I’ve met,” he said.

Johns said he is both excited and terrified by the new project.

“Someone is leading us,” he said, “and we are not called to live lives of fear.”

He noted that the name is Biblically inspired, and that the center’s goal is to provide hope and encouragement and to end the stigma around talking about mental illness and substance abuse.