Pearl River County teen challenge making a difference - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pearl River County teen challenge making a difference

PEARL RIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

There is a facility in Pearl River County doing its part to help young ladies whose lives have been turned upside down by drugs and alcohol.  It's called Teen Challenge, a faith based substance abuse program that's making a difference one life at time.

The road that lead Deana Perrin to the Teen Challenge facility was a rocky one. The former corporal in the United States Marines says her life began to crumble after she returned home from a seven month deployment in Iraq.  "I didn't even get a debriefing after the things I saw and the things I went through over there," said Perrin.

Perrin says the horrors of war lead to painful nightmares for her that she never sought help for.

One thing lead to another and she ended up addicted to crystal meth and prescription medications.  "I came back to the United States I got lost in the mix real quick and I went straight to drugs," said Perrin.

She ended up being arrested and charged with the possession and distribution of meth.  And she spent four months in a military prison before being dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps.

"Saturday we will have the completion ceremony and after that I will leave Teen Challenge," said explained Perrin.

Perrin and 17 other woman who struggled with similar substance abuse demons have come to the teen challenge program from all over the southeast seeking help.

"For about 15 years I smoked crack cocaine and I ended up homeless. And had three children DCS took my children" said student Erica Sloan.  Sloan came to the facility from South Carolina.  "I was kind of at a dead end everything was taken from me. I needed something I just didn't know what it was," she said.

That is before she was told about the Teen Challenge program. The faith based drug rehab program has an 87 percent success rate.

The women must stay at the facility for 12 months before completing the program.

"Teen Challenge is a challenge and there are days when we want to throw in the towel. But going to Becky she's so encouraging Becky always has a gentle smile to remind you it's going to be ok," explained Sloan.

On this day Perrin and two others graduated.

"I present this to you with great honor, thank you for being diligent to the plan of God," said the program director as she handed Perrin a certificate of completion.

"It's a new start and it's a clean start to life," remarked Perrin.  "It's time for me to go home and be a mother to my boys. and be a part of a family again my family."  Her plan now is to live life free of drugs and to work on getting her military discharge status upgraded.

The Teen Challenge program began in 1958.  There are now more than 1,000 centers in 82 countries around the world.  The Pearl River County facility is on Highway 11 in the Millard community.

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