The infamous 1967 Detroit Riot not only damaged hundreds of buildings in the city, it also damaged the people. Drug addiction, specifically heroine abuse, was widespread in Detroit post-riot and the Self Help Addiction Rehabilitation (commonly known as SHAR House) was founded in 1969 to help Detroit and its surrounding communities battle against addiction and other social ails.
Founded by a priest and two recovering individuals, SHAR has grown and evolved from a small therapeutic community starting at a local parish, into a multi-million dollar human service agency. It has served over 6,000 individuals annually through its various service centers throughout Wayne and Macomb counties, battling through the heroin and “speed kills” of the 70s, the cocaine/crack devastation of the 80s and 90s, and the “designer drugs” and pharmaceuticals of recent years.
To commemorate its service to metro Detroit, SHAR House is hosting its “50th Year of Service and Jubilee Celebration” at the Greater Grace Temple Banquet Hall and Conference Center Friday, October 11 from 6-10 p.m. Tickets are $50 and are available on SHAR’s website.
“Without a lot of fanfare, publicity, or recognition, SHAR has provided specialized care and services to the challenged populations of Detroit and its surrounding communities since our origin in 1969,” said SHAR CEO Dwight C. Vaughter. “We believe 50 years is a hallmark for this kind of work and we want to celebrate our accomplishments over the years.”
Every year, Detroit is named as one of “America’s most dangerous big cities.” With its extreme crime rates and crowded streets, drug abuse and addiction are sure to be a contributing factor to its abundance of crimes. SHAR’s goal since 1969 has been to prevent people who commit drug-related crimes — possession of drugs, of course, but also theft and impaired driving — from committing more by providing treatment instead of jail and be able to live a normal life.
Its outreach efforts have served incarcerated individuals, people who are hospitalized, the unemployed and the employed, the homeless, the veteran, men, women, women with children and anyone who is battling various addictions and often times, also struggling with mental health and physical health issues. For the last 50 years, SHAR has provided the necessary and ever-growing list of wrap-around services to help thousands of people change their lives.
“Drug addiction has been a problem for many years and it has gotten worse over the years,” said Vaughter. “We have found a connection between drug abuse and crime, mental health, homelessness, domestic violence and more. We also found that working to get those who deal with drug abuse clean and to stay clean will help make them become a productive citizen and stabilize the city, county, and state.”
Vaughter has been CEO of SHAR since 2008 and has a special connection to those his organization serves. He is proud to be a person in long-term recovery, abstinent from opioids and other substances for 35 years. With the opioid overdose epidemic, Dwight has participated in several local and national opioid related town hall meetings, symposiums, and other forums designed to educate and increase the awareness of the public. He has earned numerous degrees, certifications, and awards for his more than 40 years of work in the human service field, and does not plan to stop being an advocate for drug addiction.
“I love this kind of work,” said Vaughter, who worked at SHAR for his first three years of recovery. “It’s difficult and stressful at times, but it is my passion.”