May 16, 2018 David's Desk

Brooke’s House

I recently had the honor of attending the groundbreaking of Brooke’s House, a home for adult women suffering from alcohol and substance use disorder. Kevin and Dana Simmers started Brooke’s House in honor of their daughter who tragically passed away from an overdose when she was just 19 years old.

The Simmers family is one of the strongest families I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Kevin worked tirelessly to help Brooke get clean. But time and again the system failed them both, and the family soon realized walk-in treatments are simply not available.

When they first started to seek treatment, the family’s insurance company said that her problem was not serious enough for inpatient treatment. When her addiction got worse and the insurance company finally agreed to pay, Brooke still had to wait an entire week for a bed to become available. This problem is not an anomaly – on average only 1 in 9 people looking for treatment are able to find help.

This lack of available treatment options is particularly a problem in small towns and rural areas. In 2017 there were 1410 overdoses reported in Washington County alone. But there are currently no long-term recovery housing options available for women in all of Western Maryland.

Brooke’s House will provide women who are struggling with early stages of addiction with an emotionally safe and stable environment by surrounding them with the community of mentors and peers that are going through the same experience. This facility will distance them from the stigma that plagues our society and often acts as a roadblock for those who are struggling with substance abuse.

The Simmers family’s strength and resilience in taking their pain and morphing it into such a positive and productive project serve as a great example to all who have been struggling with a loss of a loved on to this heinous epidemic.

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