Man in recovery starts church, credits Chesterfield HARP program with saving his life

Chesterfield's HARP program keeping people out of jail

CHESTERIELD, Va. (WWBT) - A drug addiction recovery program is saving lives in Chesterfield.

Helping Addicts Recover Progressively, also known as HARP, has been in the Chesterfield jail for three years.

A new study has found fewer people that were previously incarcerated are going back to jail.

Recently, the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office received the results of an independent study conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. The study finds that HARP “is an effective and essential program in helping to save lives and reduce recidivism.”

“I just want to let God and everyone else know I am grateful, my life got saved," said David Emge.

Emge spent five months in the Chesterfield Jail participating in HARP. Emge struggled with addiction for 30 years, in an out of jails all over the east coast. He was released in July and says he knows he cannot turn back to drugs.

“I will have eight months clean the 28th of October,” he said. "When the officer put the hand cuffs on me I knew it was a life changing thing- jail never did nothing for me but incarcerate me, but [HARP] actually trained me with some tools and that’s the only reason that I am standing [here] today. It’s the God of my understanding and the program that I am in.”

Emge has dedicated his life to helping others fighting addiction. He started Recovery Churches of America, a Sunday evening worship service on Hungary Road.

David Emge started Recovery Church of America after being released from the Chesterfield Jail's HARP program.
David Emge started Recovery Church of America after being released from the Chesterfield Jail's HARP program. (Source: David Emge)

Emge says he is grateful to have the support of his family who help with the music every Sunday evening.

“Anyone that’s trying to make an effort to recover I just want to be there for them somehow," he said.

Recovery Church of America RVA meets Sunday evenings at 6:30 at 2311 Hungary Road.

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