Let’s take a moment to let these statistics sink in:

In 2016, Kentucky ranked among the top five states for the highest rates of death due to drug overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In the same year, the Commonwealth’s Office of Vital Statistics reported 1,404 people died as a result of drug overdose.

In McCracken County alone, the numbers hover around 20 deaths per year since 2012.

Now, another statistic to consider:

For every one person that is granted admittance into the Paducah Lifeline Ministries and Ladies Living Free recovery program, four are turned away.

“We can only help 20 percent of the people that are coming to us for help, and that’s because we don’t have the room,” says Executive Director Terrye Peeler.

“We don’t have the means to take care of any more.”

With the drug crisis increasing in our county, our region and our state, Paducah Lifeline Ministries and the women’s program Ladies Living Free are seeing an equivalent increase in those affected reaching out, begging for help.

But for most–80 percent to be exact—the help simply cannot come.

Another statistic to ponder:

The recovery program executed by Christian-based Paducah Lifeline Ministries and Ladies Living Free has a success rate of 62 percent.

More than half of program participants meet the requirements to be considered a “success” by Peeler and her 15-person staff, meaning that they complete the rigid program, graduate and are still doing well at least one year after that graduation.

In 2017, the two facilities, which are located in Paducah, saw 132 people enter into a journey to recovery from their addiction, either to drugs or alcohol.

Eighty-two men and 50 women completed counseling sessions, took classes together on anger management, time management and Christian living skills, worshipped together during church services and supported one another in group meetings. When they graduated, those 132 people had stable jobs, some were reunited with their families and some are even doing so well, they are now helping others navigate the program toward their own successful recovery.

It could be more. It should be more.

That’s why Peeler, her Board of Directors and staff are constantly raising awareness of their program, hoping that will bring more donations, which will allow them to reach more than the 20 percent they can now.

To do that, though, first the organization must renovate and expand their two facilities.

“Our buildings are in really bad shape,” Peeler says.

“Our men’s facility used to be a homeless shelter. It really needs to be updated.”

The statistics for that are simple—the bigger and better the facilities, the more people that the organization can help each year.

The organization hopes to raise enough money to double their men’s facility, allowing them to reach 160 addicted men per year.

Community leaders have joined in the fight to increase the organization’s odds. Peeler says she is indebted to both Doreen Hahn and Dr. Pat Withrow, who are donating their time to help find new funding sources to reach the goal.

For now, though, the organization continues to be grateful for support from the community that has allowed them to help 62 percent of their clients for more than a decade, support that comes through donations from the Carson Myre Charitable Foundation, the Ray & Kay Eckstein Charitable Trust as well as gifts from individuals, churches and businesses.

Clients are also required to pay $1,800 to complete the program, though Peeler admits that fee covers only a third of their care in the three-phase, nine-month program.

“All those sources come together to take care of the expenses that we have each year,” Peeler says.

Until expansion can come, Paducah Lifeline Ministries and Ladies Living Free will continue answering the calls for help, admitting the ones that they can help and referring the ones that they cannot to other facilities.

And watching the numbers grow.

“It’s amazing to me,” Peeler says.

“The more people that we help, the more people we see that are wanting our kind of help.”

To learn more about Paducah Lifeline Ministries and Ladies Living Free, visit

Executive Director Terrye Peeler invites anyone interested in the organization to visit the website or call a staff member to schedule a tour of the facilities.

Those interested in donating to the organization can learn more about donation options at

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