In 2003, the Rev. Milton Williams of New Life Evangelical Baptist Church saw that his church members were in dire need of help beyond the pulpit.

“Very humbly, I was preaching with all my heart to people in the church pews and I was giving them my best and they would leave my church and get high,” Rev. Williams told the AFRO. “I knew I needed to look at additional outreach services that would help folks not use.” His vision soon became a reality, and he created Turning Point Clinic, a substance abuse treatment center.

“Eleven years in business as a treatment center and now the largest treatment center in the world is reason enough to celebrate,” Rev. Williams said at the May 22 anniversary celebration at his church. “We have fought long and hard to be where we are today and to know by God’s grace we are alive and well and exceeding our mission…We have reason enough to celebrate.”

Turning Point carries out the vision of its founder to be a faith-based clinic, melding medication and counseling with a balance of spiritual intervention.

Located in the heart of East Baltimore, Turning Point has opened its doors to help everyone suffering from any form of substance abuse. During the ceremony, Rev. Williams outlined the severity of the drug problem, noting that Baltimore has been named the “heroin capital” of the world.

“Obviously, Baltimore needs more treatment capacity. We take in 150 new and readmitted patients each month. We have tripled in size in two years. But, today I announce that we must immediately cease accepting new patients. Why? We simply have no room,” Rev. Williams told those in attendance.

In response to their need for more space, Rev. Williams announced the purchase of a 10,000 square foot property directly across from their Milton Avenue location, to be used as an Outpatient Mental Health Center and Intensive Outpatient Program.

Turning Point currently has 100 employees working in the medical, clinic, and health and administration departments. Additionally, Turning Point has licensed nurses, technicians, and doctors. Many patients credited the staff for getting them on the right track. Some of those in attendance shared their testimonies of how Turning Point has made a huge impact in their lives. Kimberly Holdclaw-Dey was a recovering heroin addict who was homeless. But now, because of the program, she has housing and a brighter future.

“Turning point has been a blessing in my life because not only can I come here for treatment and mental health, I also have spirituality and church,” said Holdclaw-Dey. “Before my family couldn’t recognize me. I was ashamed to be around anybody. So, I lost weight. I was like 100 pounds. Now, I have a relationship with my kids and grandkids and have housing now. I’m a happier person.”

Also, Penny Wooten, who had been addicted to heroin and cocaine for 25 years, detailed her journey to being clean. She tried other methadone recovery programs, but none had seemed to work like Turning Point. “Out of all my recoveries this has been the first place that I have ever gotten clean and stayed clean,” Wooten shared with the AFRO. “If you follow the rules and regulations of the program, take the suggestions and get yourself a higher power, there is nothing you can’t do.”

Jonathan Hunter

AFRO Staff Writer