Rural health care focus of new treatment programs

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
June 27, 2001
DEKALB Drug and alcohol treatment programs are among health care services expected to be available next month in rural areas after a new facility opens in DeKalb.
Co-owners Willie Bookert and Jerry Jones will be operating the new facility, the Treatment and Training Institute of Mississippi, out of the Kemper County Economic Development Authority's Business Incubator on Highway 16. Jones said they have a three-year lease and expect to open in mid-July.
Jones said immediate goals include opening a drug and alcohol out-patient treatment center. Staff can treat 30 clients each six weeks, the duration of the 120-hour program. Classes are offered day and night.
The co-owners would also like to develop DUI training courses, pursue funding for other programs such as smoking cessation programs and eventually be able to provide in-patient treatment.
Jones said he and Bookert have mailed letters to judges, district attorneys and sheriffs in the area and hope to eventually work with the courts for referrals. Their coverage area would expand to some 20 counties.
They will also be contacting local government officials and church and civic group leaders, he said.
The cost of the programs will be $1,000 for a six-week session, but Jones said securing additional state and federal funding could lower costs drastically.
Bookert, a resident of Brandon, has 20-25 years experience as a substance abuse counselor, Jones said, and said he has more than 30 years of experience in education, training and administration. Jones recently moved from Philadelphia to Kemper County.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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