New help for people battling addiction in the North Country

Published: Oct. 26, 2018 at 5:45 PM EDT
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It's often said that the first step to beating an addiction is acknowledging a problem exists. But the next step is detox, and when there's nowhere for an addict to get clean safely, it creates a new problem altogether.

"You couldn't go into recovery unless you had five days of detox, which I did not know at the time. And the only place to go for that detox was Albany, Utica, Syracuse or even further," said Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury.

Patients would have to travel hours away from home to get the help they need and leave their support systems behind.

"That's really what we hope to do is give people access to treatment when they are asking for treatment," said Ron Garrow of the CVFC Recovery Campus.

Over the last four years, the CVFC has worked with local lawmakers to secure a building and bring a detox and treatment center to the North Country-- the Champlain Valley Family Center Recovery Campus in Schuyler Falls.

"It's a good thing we're the greatest place on earth because we have some issues. We have a heroin and opioid epidemic which is tearing families apart," said John Bernardi of the United Way.

The facility has 18 beds for men and women 18 years and older struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Once they arrive on campus, a patient is seen by medical staff to determine the level of care needed.

"To make sure that the level of withdrawal, if there is withdrawal, is not so severe that they require a hospital program. If that's the case, we'll make that referral and get that person into the appropriate services," Garrow said.

The campus is equipped to handle some detox clients and treatment for recovery. It's a voluntary program-- they cannot force anyone into treatment-- and there is no time limit as to how long you can stay.

They hope to welcome their first patients by the second week in November.