Portsmouth business ‘lifting’ the burden of opioid epidemic

Kettlebells helped Dale King find a fitness community and now it's helping Portsmouth to recover from addiction.
Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 6:49 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) - The pandemic has created hardship for many Americans and their families. For those already struggling with addiction, the weight of the burden can feel overwhelming.

One business owner in Portsmouth is helping to carry the load in his hometown.

A man from Portsmouth returned home after serving in the military, faced with a new battle.
A man from Portsmouth returned home after serving in the military, faced with a new battle.(WSAZ)

After spending years serving his country, Dale King returned to Portsmouth to find a new battle raging close to home.

“We kind of created this problem of addiction here in southern Ohio,” King said. “Now we kind of think we have a pretty good model of how to solve it.”

He opened a CrossFit gym, training anyone who joined how to deal with stress, and learned ways to fight through pain and fatigue.

“They need a place to go, they need a place to be a part of,” King said.

The lessons weren’t lost on him. He paired up with The Counseling Center to offer classes there, preparing clients for the challenges that waited on the outside.

“Life’s hard,” King said. “It’s designed to be that way.”

Once the pandemic shut down U.S. borders, fitness companies were struggling to get their products from overseas. Dale says he found an opportunity with the Ohio Stove Company to make and ship kettlebells locally. The self-proclaimed ‘river rat’ says it’s all come full circle.

“A kettlebell has changed my life,” said King. “From the time I started swinging one 12 years ago to be a part, a small part of making them now in Ohio, means a lot to me.”

During the pandemic, many people began to work out at home. The demand for kettlebells...
During the pandemic, many people began to work out at home. The demand for kettlebells skyrocketed. Now the weights are being made in Portsmouth.(WSAZ)

Now, he employs individuals looking for a safe place to land while in recovery -- providing them a tough but stable environment to learn and grow.

“We have people anywhere from two weeks out of treatment,” King said. “And we’ve been blessed to have people over two years sober.”

King says it’s made a difference in his own life and helped others regain control of theirs.

“It’s so rewarding to come in and watch people get their license, get their bank account, get their first car, get their first apartment, get their first good relationship,” King said.

He says they’ve become his family. His other business, Doc Spartan makes, prepares, and ships all-natural products. He got his first real dose of the impact he’s made, last year.

A Portsmouth business sells all-natural products.
A Portsmouth business sells all-natural products.(WSAZ)

“We were able to give him his first paycheck around Christmastime and he took the paycheck and looked at it and said ‘thank you, I can buy my kids Christmas presents for the first time,’” King said.

This endeavor allows him to give back to the community -- a place that has always had his.

Copyright 2020 WSAZ. All rights reserved.