New detox center offers help to North Country teens, adults

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 5:25 PM EDT
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SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. (WCAX) - Alcohol and substance abuse is up since the start of the pandemic. Now, there’s a new detox facility in New York’s North Country that aims to be the first step toward helping people get clean.

Bringing a detox facility to the North Country has been a goal for the last decade with the closest ones over two hours away. That creates barriers for many people looking for help.

“A lot of individuals may not have a vehicle or a driver’s license, so being able to get them to a facility that’s not two, three hours away is a huge improvement,” said Sam Hall, the director of St. Joseph’s Detoxification Center.

In March, St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment and Recovery Center opened a clinic to fill some of the local need.

The $4 million project included the complete renovation of an old warehouse in the village of Saranac Lake and turned it into a safe place for people seeking recovery.

“Try and create an environment that would be really welcoming to individuals when they come that says we want to treat you right, we want to treat you with dignity, we want to treat you with respect,” said Bob Ross of St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment and Recovery Center.

The Robert Reiss center can accommodate up to 10 people and help them through the detox process. They offer treatment and work with recovering addicts in getting care after substances leave the system.

“The thought behind a facility such as this, which is nonhospital based, is that we do have the resources and the time to actually work with and empower individuals to get the treatment they need,” Hall said.

Those who come to the facility will stay around 3-5 days depending on their needs.

Initial treatment includes a physical, COVID test and screening within the first 24 hours.

“All of their care is being taken care of right upfront and then it’s basically monitoring to see how they are progressing,” Hall said.

The center also can take in teens trying to get help, something less common in the state.

“Generally speaking, most of the time an adolescent would need that, they would end up in the hospital or sometimes the psych ward,” Hall said.

While the need for a center like this was there before the pandemic, the need is greater now.

“During the pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase, 50%-60% increase in addiction throughout New York and the country,” Ross said.

“Alcohol use and overdose deaths have drastically risen,” Hall said.

The facility has several beds open now. Click here for more information on the facility and what you need to know about it-- like what you can and can’t pack.

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