Grant to help bring treatment to addicts in the Adirondacks

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) St. Joseph's Addiction Treatment and Recovery Center and its 13 locations are pretty well known around the North Country.

"We treat the disease in terms of we try and educate and inform and offer information for individuals that are going through recovery and their family members, and try and wrap their head around what does it mean to be chemically dependent to whatever your substance of choice is," said Zachary Randolph of St. Joseph's.

Over the last two years, they've seen two substances rise above the rest.

"In 2017, 97 percent of all the people we served had a heroin or opioid designation," said Robert Ross, the CEO of St. Joseph's. "That's a dramatic increase-- about a 66 percent increase over two years."

That increase is what made them apply for a state grant to open a second facility in Saranac Lake, converting an old warehouse on John Munn Road.

"There's three components to the grant we got: $450,000 for the open access, a million for the detox and we've applied for $850,000 for the permanent location of the outpatient clinic. So total, it's a little over 2.3," Ross explained.

Right now, detox is a long way away.

"Right now, there's about a two-and-a-half- to three-and-a-half-hour drive from Saranac Lake to get into detox in either Albany or Syracuse," Ross said. "We came up with a very interesting and somewhat unique model of taking those two services, the 10 detox beds and 24/7 access service, which basically means anyone can come in at any time any day and get accessed and be referred to serviced right then and there."

Experts say time spent off campus engaging in an accepting community can only help the progress.

"That time and experience is going to help motivate you to stay clean and maybe help find some identity and purpose throughout that as well," Randolph said.

They hope to start renovations this spring and be up and running by the end of the year.