Former addict launches plan to battle drug epidemic in Cherokee

Former addict Kallup McCoy has formed "Rez Recovery Riderz" in Cherokee, North Carolina. He hopes to help others in Cherokee who struggle with addiction get clean. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

There's a new group in Cherokee fighting the battle against addiction.

Former addict Kallup McCoy formed "Rez Recovery Riderz." He said it’s easy to get addicted to substances in Cherokee.

“We've always been oppressed by something as Native Americans,” he said. “I started doing meth and got hooked by pain pills.”

That was high school. Now at 31, McCoy says he’s been clean since April 2017. He was in jail then and wrote a letter to his father, who had died of cancer.

“Send me a sign you're still watching over me," McCoy recalled. "And about that time - literally 30 seconds - I put my pen down, and a preacher walks in, and he had the same mannerisms as my Dad.”

McCoy said that was his "come-to-Jesus" moment when he vowed to stay off drugs.

Now, he wants to give back and be a better role model to his two sons and his community.

McCoy's strategy is based on faith, diet, and exercise. He said those ingredients can break the cycle of addicts going in and out of jail and rehab. He's turning a house in the Birdtown community into a halfway house to help implement his program.

“I think it's going to speak volumes and really going to make a profound impact on the community,” he said.

Efforts are underway to make it a self-governing non-profit. McCoy said it will have rules.

“Get a job, go to meetings, and random drug testing,” he explained.

McCoy also recommendations addicts find a church, get on a diet and exercise.

He said will live his belief, running from North Carolina to Oklahoma along the longest Trail of Tears route -- over 1,100 miles.

“I'm going to try to do it over 40 days,” he said. “You got to believe in something, and I believe that I'm saved for a bigger reason than just walking around doing what I was doing.”

McCoy also hands out recovery bags to active addicts, which contain tooth brushes, toothpaste and some Bible scripture.

He hopes to have the halfway house running by early January and maybe two more this summer.

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