An article about Eastern Kentucky drug problems was published in the Lexington Herald and was read by Congressman Hal Rogers. The article stated Eastern KY was the pain killer capital of the world. In disbelief Rogers began his own investigation and found it to be true. This information prompted Rogers and Karen Engle to form a task force which is known as Operation UNITE, Unlawful Narcotic Investigation, Treatment and Education. The task force was designed to target street level drug dealers by involving the community. The plan was for people to report any drug activity to authorities.
On May 2, 2004 the two teams had a drug march. Despite death threats and cold rainy weather, nearly 3500 people marched for a drug-free community. The march ended at the Rawlings and Stinson Park in Manchester about the time the storm ended. As Congressman Rogers and LT Governor Steve Pense were speaking a dark cloud hovered above them. Pense began to speak to the drug dealers and let them know that a dark cloud was hovering over their business and that Clay County would not tolerate their drug dealing any longer.
Christians for a Drug Free Clay County and Rogers knew everyone involved in drugs couldn’t be incarcerated. They knew they needed a treatment facility for those who had drug addictions. Christians for a Drug Free Clay County began seeking help on a drug treatment facility in Clay County. Many attempts were made to partner with others or to get funding for a faith based facility. A board, Visions of Eastern KY, was formed to seek out financial support for a facility.
Through the prayers and persistent help of political leaders, Christians for a Drug-Free Clay County was able to get grants for a facility. The construction would begin on land donated by Charley and Virginia McWhorter. This land would have been inherited by their son, Chad McWhorter, who died of a drug overdose in July 2004. Chad’s Dream was to build a house on this land where Charley had grown up. After Visions of Eastern KY heard about his dream, they agreed to name it Chad’s Hope.
Chad’s Hope Center opened in February 2008 and admitted its first student in March. Chad’s Hope Recovery Center can hold 52 residential students. In October 2008 Visions of Eastern Kentucky partnered with Teen Challenge USA. The 12 month program offers Christ-centered recovery and discipleship to all the students. Chad’s Hope Teen Challenge is committed to meet each students spiritual, physical and emotional needs through Jesus Christ the Lord.