‘Panhandle Recovery Festival’: Helping People in our Community Break-Free from Substance Abuse


Some would call it an epidemic.

With the latest statistics showing 1 in 3 people in the U.S. suffer from substance abuse in some way.

Those facts are discouraging–but there’s hope. 

That’s the message behind the first ever ‘Panhandle Recovery Festival.’

ARAD, or the Amarillo Recovery from Alcohol and Drugs Center, is helping people in our community, get their breakthrough.

Much like the new ARAD building, many of the people who will fill this center when it officially opens next year…are under construction.

“We’re all under construction. The people who are going to come here to get help, they’re going to have very specialized help from people who have been doing this for a while and who know how to help them,” said Stephanie Bankhead, Family member in recovery.

People like Martha Burkett. 

Twenty-eight years ago she went through a 30-day treatment program for a substance abuse disorder. 

But her story didn’t end there. 

“Gratefully I’ve been clean and sober ever since. But my own life, the job that I have. All the work that I’ve done, my life wouldn’t even be possible. So I have a lot of gratitude and a lot of respect for the other people in recovery whose supported me along the way,” said Martha Burkett, ARAD Director of Residential Services

After her breakthrough, she’s now working to help others have their own…With some help from area organizations who are also in the business of helping people break free from their addictions.

“We want to offer hope and we want to offer love and support. And there’s so many people who are willing to extend a hand and say hey if you’re ready, we’re ready to help you. Whether that’s professional treatment or whether that’s just somebody to talk to or peer support, whatever. So yeah it’s a huge deal,” said Burkett.

ARAD officially opens its doors in January.

Burkett says our area hasn’t had a place to send people for residential care for a while. 

And she tells us that’s what makes the center so unique for Amarillo…it closes that treatment gap.

By this time next year, Burkett says hopefully the building will be full and possibly expanding.

She tells us, so far, the treatment facility has been supported by community donations. 

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