Fight against fentanyl: After tragedy Independence man opens thrift store to fund drug rehab center

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – A man here is transforming tragedy into triumph after losing his fiancé to fentanyl-laced street drugs three years ago.

John Speakman describes Gina Ruth as a very kind person who saw the good in everyone she met. But Ruth’s addiction to painkillers led to a tragic outcome when she unknowingly bought medication off the street mixed with a fatal dose of fentanyl.

Speakman’s broken heart was moved to respond to the unspeakable loss with love and generosity.

Speakman launched the Gina Ruth Foundation and opened a thrift store to raise money for a future drug rehab hospital, while also promoting awareness. The store, Lose Some Gain Some, can be found at 1600 South Noland Road, Suite 122 in Independence. The store has a wide variety of items, except for box springs and mattresses.

“Bring it by and drop it off. We’ll take care of it from there,” Speakman said. “We sell good stuff. All of my clothing, I go through it thoroughly. They won’t find dirty, stained or ripped clothes on my shelves. All electrical appliances are tested before they go on my racks.”

The funds raised by Lose Some Gain Some will be allocated to acquiring 180 acres of farmland and constructing a $3 million rehabilitation center.

Speakman told The Heartlander the center will depend on agriculture for its own provisions, while remaining self-sustainable and providing free care to patients. Speakman’s vision includes apartments where patients can stay for an entire year during their rehabilitation treatments.

“They don’t have to have money or insurance to get into it (once it is open). It is self-funded. This is not about how much money we can make; this is about helping people.”

Psychologists, counselors, and on-site educational programs would also be available at the rehabilitation center, allowing individuals to earn a high school equivalent diploma and acquire job training skills.

“I’m out to dry up the fentanyl trade more than anything,” said Speakman. “The fentanyl trade is made up by China, and the drug cartels are buying it up and shipping it across the border. The street gangs are getting ahold of it and they’re selling it on the streets. None of them knows anything about what they are doing with it. They are mixing it into anything and everything.”

Speakman is seeking assistance with his website, particularly with adding a donation button, as he admits to not being tech-savvy. He is also consistently looking for volunteers to help at the thrift store.

“This is gonna save a lot of lives. It’s not going to bring anyone’s loved ones back. That is a pain that will never go away. I don’t know what else to say. I’m trying to keep her name alive, and that’s all people can do. They gotta keep their loved ones’ names alive, because once that name is gone it’s dead forever. We gotta stand up. We cannot count on our government to do it. We gotta do it as ‘We the people’.”

To learn more about Lose Some Gain Some, visit the website.


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