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Kansas City organization fighting violence by helping others fight addiction

Neighbor to Neighbor Program
Posted at 5:36 PM, Jun 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-07 19:54:47-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The year to date total of homicides in Kansas City, Missouri, has now risen to 80.

It puts 2023 on-pace be the deadliest year on record in KCMO.

Many of those cases can can be linked back to drugs.

The violence is emblematic of not just a battle between police and dealers, but a war waged within.

"When you wake up, you don't wake up to go to work," Dr. Carlotta Boles said. "You wake up to go and rob somebody, or to set up a plan to do destruction so you can get high."

She's now a substance abuse disorder counselor, having experienced homelessness and drug addiction in her past.

Gregory Parr, the executive director of the Neighbor to Neighbor help program, had similar struggles with addiction.

They say they know the fight firsthand.

"I thought I was going to die from an overdose, or someone shooting me because I stole from them, so I felt hopeless," Parr said.

He still remembers his turning point, an older woman named Dorothy, who never gave up.

"She helped me, and she had like a motherly instinct, she said to me, 'Hey Greg,'" Parr said. "Even though I had three coats, three pairs of pants on, alcohol on my breath, 'Greg, come to church. When are you going to do better?' So she gave me hope."

Parr got clean years ago, and dedicated his life to being a beacon of hope himself, so has Boles.

Together, they're working on the front lines of helping others help themselves by providing meals and counseling.

"If we can do a little bit to help them, it's going to cut down the violence out here," Boles said.