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Durham LGBT Addiction Recovery Center A First Of Its Kind In The South

LaVare Leith Foundation

An organization in Durham is running what is believed to be the only sober living center for LGBT people in the South. 

LaVare's House, which was established by the LaVare Leith Foundation in 2014, has nine beds for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Director Daniel Wilson, who is openly gay, said he created the center because sober living spaces are often not safe for LGBT people.

"One thing that I noticed when I was in a recovery house myself was that I had to stay closeted the entire time because it caused issues and it wasn't acceptable," Wilson said.

"So I wanted to - when I opened up my house - make that path a little bit easier for people who are LGBT so that they didn't have to fight two battles at once," he added.

The National Institutes of Health reports the LGBT community experiences significantly higher rates of substance abuse than the general population. Wilson noticed the struggle was especially difficult for transgender people.

"The system had failed them. There was no place for them to go. They were not allowed in the men's houses. They were not allowed in the women's houses. It was just a terrible situation," he said.

The center has success and relapse rates that are similar to other homes in the area. Wilson has been sober since 2011.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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