DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN (PIX11) — Nestled in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn, inside a generic commercial building, you’ll find a growing staff is delivering hope to those suffering from opioid addiction – one case at a time.
The Wellness Center, located at 25 Chapel St., is a joint local-, state- and federally-funded facility, operated by the Center for Community Alternatives.
“The way you receive the clients can really determine your interaction with them for the rest of their time here,” said Farah, one of the nurses on duty.
It is New York state’s first fully integrated outpatient opioid treatment program. In addition to offering methadone, which is designed to curb heroin and other opioid addictions, the staff also provides a suite of mental health, employment, and supportive services.
Overdose deaths from heroin, synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and commonly doctor-prescribed opioids have all risen steadily over the last decade, according to the New York State Department of Health.
“For people to come through and go through the center and come out a whole new person. To see that the city is building up something, I think it’s real good,” said Brooklyn resident Kaseen.
Just as importantly, the Wellness Center dedicates part of its addiction outreach efforts to people who were formerly incarcerated.
There are almost two dozen staff members. Through referrals, walk-ins, and on-the-street direct outreach, the center has the capacity to treat up to 200 clients at a time.
“We also have a very highly trained medical team, counselors, kind of a holistic approach to programming,” said Marianna Chrysiliou, assistant director of the Behavioral Health Services Unit. “Legal services. We have court advocacy, mitigation services here. It’s very important to have the resources in the community to help people reintegrate and find the support needed to do well and to achieve those goals and find motivation.”
The program is part of a larger $17 million initiative to create up to 39 of the centers across New York state.
The Wellness Center does not limit its client base to just people who were formerly incarcerated. Anyone who feels like they are ready to tackle their opioid addiction can walk right in and begin their journey toward recovery.
Find more information on drug addiction resources nationwide and in the tri-state area here.