The Outcasts 4 Christ Recovery Ministry has constantly hovered just under its 24-man capacity, says director Johnny Bruce.

And as the facility seeks to expand, the nonprofit's director said the center is also grappling with thousands of dollars of debt.

The sober living facility coordinates with the state to admit people who are charged with a misdemeanor for drug possession. The state counts the nonprofit as a way of clearing charges thanks to its one-year rehabilitation track.

Other area rehabilitation centers include the Broadway House, Naomi House, Destiny Recovery Center and Oxford House. Bruce said his facility stays in constant communication with these fellow recovery centers and other local social work resources, but in his five years of experience raising men up from the clutches of drug abuse, he knows that it just isn't enough.

“We need more resources for these men to have a chance to do the right thing versus them having no resources, getting out of here and running around the streets with nowhere to go,” Bruce said. “We need more places like this.”
State Questions 780 and 781 went into effect July 1.

They raised the threshold amount for drugs one can possess before being charged with a felony, among other things. Kris Steele, Oklahoma Speaker of the House, spearheaded the legislation in hopes to divert inmates to rehabilitation facilities in lieu of jail time.

But according to Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant, the Carter County jail continues to remain over its capacity of 186 since some drug users struggle to post bail for their misdemeanor charges, and rehabilitation facilities like Outcasts 4 Christ need more space, money and other resources.

A high level of accountability permeates the walls of the two-story house. But for the men who relapse and are caught using drugs while admitted in the program, Bruce's staff is obligated to report them, sending them back into custody.

“Ardmore is rampant,” Bruce said. “If any of us were to get our own house out there in one of these streets, the drug use up and down them in this community is infested. We kind of separate ourselves from the world, but when you're out there on your own, the world is treacherous.”

Pat Ownbey, Representative of District 48, doesn't imagine the benefits reaped from less felonies for misdemeanors from SQs 780/781 will be readily noticeable because the legislation is still relatively new. But he does recognize the local skepticism in several local officials, and anticipates changes to them in the coming future.

“I'm familiar with the concerns of both our sheriff and district attorney and understand them. The good news is that unlike the other questions that were on the ballot, these two state questions are statutory not constitutional, which means the legislature has the ability to amend them in the upcoming session,” Ownbey said. “I do expect that we will see amendments filed.”