Former drug dealer now dealing hope to addicts in Central Ohio
Chillicothe has the distinction of being Ohio's first capital.
In recent years, the city has earned a new reputation as a hotbed for illegal drugs.
Cheryl Beverly knows the town well. Born and raised here, she gave ABC 6/FOX 28 a tour of the city.
One thing that stood out during the tour was the number of children in the neighborhoods toured through.
"You don't know if they're going to come out and find an OD laying here on the sidewalk, because it has happened,” said Beverly.
In the '90s, Cheryl sold drugs. Now, she has turned her life around and is trying turn around others. Each street is different, but drugs have created the same story.
"Qe’re tired of reading in the paper, the obituary because of an OD."
This mom and cafeteria worker decided to take action by creating Cheryl's House of Hope. Housing, counseling, and a job are provided for women recovering from drug addiction.
"There’s a young lady, she's doing good. She's still going to college. She's working. She's working every day and she has her own apartment now."
Stories like that give this former drug pusher hope.
"It lets me know that my services can be used for the positive and not the negative."
Beverly's work is known locally. Now, she wants to take it to the next level and get the attention of people on a larger stage.
'It takes funding. It takes our senators. It takes our government to come here to help us to see what's going on. We need that."
Senator Sherrod Brown said he sees and hears the stories caused by drugs addiction. He said one solution starts with jobs.
"We need better training programs. We need a different trade and tax policy."
Beverly’s work is getting the senator's attention. ABC 6/FOX 28 went along with her to Washington where she talked with Brown’s staff about her work and how drugs impacted her family.
"She has told us what she and her family have been through. We know addiction in a family turns the whole family upside down,” explained Senator Brown.
The message his office sent to her was that "we assured her that we'll continue to block any repeal of the Affordable Care Act. There are 200,000 Ohioans right now getting opioid treatment right now in Ohio that have insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.”
One reason Beverly traveled to Washington was to get federal money to run her new safe house.
Various organizations in Ohio work on the same problem, but money is limited. So, how is it decided who gets that much needed money?
"When the dollars are distributed we need to look at which organizations have a good track record and help those organizations expand,” explained Brown.
This Chillicothe native is confident she'll get the help she's looking for, so she can help others.
'Just keep focusing on the positive. That's all I can do."