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A breath of hope at JUUST Living
Photo courtesy: Juust Living Facebook

By Joseph Rios

According to “Dru use by State: 2018’s Problem Areas,” a study by WalletHub, Colorado has the third highest percentage of adult drug users, trailing only Alaska and Vermont. The Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Prevention says there were 504 fatal overdoses involving opioids in Colorado in 2016. In 2010-2011, Colorado ranked second in the country for self-admitted non-medical use of prescription painkillers among people ages 12-24, according to the organization. Prescription drug overdose deaths are one of the four most serious epidemics facing the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To help addicts, people who are experiencing homelessness and those who are coming out of incarceration, or jail, JUUST Living will soon open its doors. JUUST Living is a healing and recovery center that will open this month in Lakewood, and it will be able to house 16 people who will all strive to work toward integrating back to society in a two-year program.

The healing and recovery center is based off Unitarian Universalism principles — a liberal religious faith that doesn’t require one to take part in a particular religious belief, according to JUUST Living. It is modeled on the Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco, a residential self-help organization for former substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless people and others.

While people stay at Delancey Street, they receive a high school equivalency degree, and they are trained in three different marketable skills. JUUST Living plans to do something similar by helping people learn skills such as agriculture, culinary and maintenance skills. By the time people leave its program, JUUST Living hopes to help its residents find a stable living situation and a job.

JUUST Living is a voluntary program, and applicants write a letter to the organization stating why they are in the circumstances they are in, and why they are ready to make a change. It will house mixed genders and people from the LGBT population.

Among those who are helping with community outreach for JUUST Living is Candice Fondal, who served in the United States Air Force. She was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq, and she developed a drinking problem during her time in the military. She went to a 14-week outpatient program, and she has been sober since 2001. Now, she is looking to help people who have suffered through similar struggles that she has through JUUST Living.

JUUST Living is funded through personal contributions, and it is part of the West Colfax Community Association. It will be located at 1629 Simms St.

If you would like to contact JUUST Living, or you know of someone who could benefit from its services, visit For immediate assistance, you can reach Ruth Rinehart, the executive director for JUUST Living, at 720-290-5715, or by emailing The healing and recovery center is also on Facebook at





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