Group Hopes To Find New Location For Addiction Recovery Center
A group in Warren and Washington Counties is still trying to establish a center for recovering addicts after negative reaction from neighbors ruled out one prospective location.
The push by the Friends of Recovery Warren and Washington, a group part of the Hometown Vs. Heroin and Addiction coalition, to establish a center for recovering addicts at the Gospel Lighthouse Church in Hudson Falls quickly faced backlash from neighbors.
Reverend Ray Bartholomew, a member of the Friends of Recovery, said the community got the wrong idea of what the group was aiming for.
“Well I think the community misunderstood what Friends of Recovery Warren and Washington County was trying to do,” said Bartholomew. “What we’re doing is trying to establish a recovery center that would cater to folks that are already in recovery. Not currently trapped in addiction but in the process of recovery.”
Bartholomew stressed that the Friends of Recovery was not trying to open a center where addicts could get medical treatment.
In early February, Rev. Paul Mead of the Gospel Lighthouse Church gave WAMC some of his ideas for the center that would serve as a community space for those in long term recovery.
“We would possibly have on site job coaching and resume writing to help those in recovery and their families who are without employable become more employable.”
Mead also suggested it could serve as a place for family events like movie nights. Mead chose not to comment Thursday morning, but had said previously “fear took over” in some neighbors. The center would not have been affiliated with the Gospel Lighthouse Church. The plan was withdrawn a few days later.
Bartholomew said the group is “right back to square one” and is trying to find a location, although he could not provide a timeframe.
“There’s really no face you can put on a person in recovery. They come from all walks of life. So people could drive themselves there or we’re looking for a place on the bus route in the Glens Falls, Hudson Falls, Fort Edward area to help those without transportation, but we’re open as to where we would be.”
David Saffer is Executive Director of the Hudson Falls-based Council for Prevention and a part of the Hometown Vs. Heroin group.
“There is a huge issue in terms of opioids and heroin within our geographic area and we do have a lack of services.”
Saffer said that applies to those seeking treatment and those in recovery.
The Warren and Washington County region, near New York’s border with Vermont, has seen a rise in drug-related arrests in recent years. In Vermont, Governor Shumlin declared it an epidemic.
Saffer said the realities of drug addiction facing the region cannot be confronted by law enforcement alone.
“The heroin issue is really more of a public health issue than it is a law enforcement issue, because law enforcement can’t certainly arrest everybody and deal with everybody that needs services.”