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Maryland-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Provider Offering Scholarship For African Americans Struggling With Addiction

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (WJZ) -- A Maryland-based substance abuse and mental health treatment provider is now offering a special scholarship for those struggling with addiction.

Amatus Recovery Centers' Social Justice Scholarship is offering $750,000 to African Americans to cover the costs of care, ranging from detox to outpatient treatment. Leaders with the organization said the goal is to offer an opportunity for those who otherwise wouldn't have access to treatment.

"If one mom gets to sleep good tonight because their son's in treatment, it's all worth it," Matt Bell, the CEO of Amatus' Midwest Recovery Center, said.

Jarryl, a patient in recovery, knows the importance of the right opportunity while battling addiction.

"I was always that person that said I wouldn't take it, but after I got in the car wreck and I did take it It was just like it changed me," he said.

After battling 15 years of addiction, Jarryl recently graduated his treatment program at Midwest Recovery Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Not all are as fortunate to find help.

"At the end of the day, there's a lot of injustice going on," Amatus COO Michael Silberman said, "and we believe that this is obviously been going on for a very long time."

Among those injustices were the racial disparities in who was seeking treatment.

"It seemed like when I was in treatment, you know, 90 to 95 percent of the individuals that I was in treatment with were white," Bell said.

Following recent events, including the death of George Floyd, leaders at Amatus decided to focus on the treatment opportunities available to the African American community.

Bell described watching what happened to Floyd as "truly sickening."

"What if he had an opportunity to get clean and what could have been different, and would the world have had to go through all of this," he wondered.

That's why Amatus launched the social justice scholarship in the hope of helping to reverse the statistics.

"It doesn't have to end that way, doesn't have to end in a jail cell... and I believe that a lot of people, especially in the African American community don't even know that that is an option," Bell said.

Silberman said the scholarship will give people an opportunity they might not otherwise have had to seek treatment.

Jarryl, who's on the road to recovery, said he's glad to see the resources being offered to those in need.

"I know for me, the reason why I wouldn't seek treatment was because of my pride...  so this scholarship could benefit thousands of people," he said.

To learn more about the scholarship, click here.

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