Burlington County is expanding its addiction services with the launch of a Recovery Center to better help residents obtain treatment and other critical mental health and community support to assist them through recovery.
Located at the Burlington County Human Services Building in Westampton, the Recovery Center will serve as a so-called “one-stop” location where individuals can obtain peer support and information about treatment programs, recovery support services and community resources, according to information provided by the county.
The center will also serve as a location for other wellness activities and classes on subjects like nutrition, anger management, relaxation and meditation and resume writing, and it will provide space for groups like Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous to meet and also for recovering residents to find information about sober living and housing assistance and social programs that can assist them.
The Recovery Center’s first activities are expected to begin this month with online virtual sessions due to the coronavirus pandemic. The kickoff also coincides with National Recovery Month and ongoing efforts to end the stigma surrounding addiction.
“The coronavirus pandemic is not the only health crisis impacting Burlington County. We cannot forget that addiction is also claiming the lives of our friends, neighbors and loved ones at an alarming rate,” Burlington County Board Director Felicia Hopson said during a news conference on Sept. 22 to announce the launch of the Recovery Center initiative, according to the statement. “Our county is committed to helping our residents access the treatment and assistance they need to beat this terrible disease. This Recovery Center can be that link to services but also a supportive environment where those suffering can receive support and help from others fighting the same battle.”
Hopson was joined at the Recovery Center launch by County Administrator Eve Cullinan, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and representatives of Prevention Is Key, a North Jersey-based nonprofit that is partnering with the county to staff the center.
Coffina said he intends for the prosecutor’s office to have a presence at the center through its Operation Helping Hand grant program, and to provide information on the office’s Straight to Treatment program, which allows people struggling with addiction to walk into a police station and get referred to treatment, according to the statement.
“The Recovery Room will fill an important need in the continuum of drug treatment and recovery,” Coffina said in the statement. “It will provide important peer support for people looking to overcome addiction, and in particular, assistance with developing life skills and providing ‘recovery capital’ to sustain recovery as a compliment to treatment and meetings. Congratulations to the board and our Department of Human Services for establishing this important resource for our county, and we look forward to working with them to help those facing substance use disorder find their way to a healthy and fulfilling future for themselves and their families.”
Funding for the renovations at the Human Services Building and for the Recovery Center’s staff and programming was provided from a $134,615 county innovation grant awarded to the county by the State Department of Human Services, which distributed $1.6 million to counties statewide to fund innovative projects that reflect the needs of their communities and their battle against the addiction epidemic, according to the statement.
Prevention Is Key received the 2020 Innovation Grant Award through their Recovery Services Department CARES (Center For Addiction, Recovery, Education and Success) for the Resource Center at the Human Services Building. The grant will run for a 12 month period, beginning June 30, 2020,. As grant recipient for this project, Prevention is Key will receive $80,679 in funding, according to the statement.
A total of 164 people died from suspected drug overdoses in Burlington County last year, up from 161 in 2018 and 149 deaths in 2017, according to data from the New Jersey Attorney’s General Office.
So far this year, the county has had 91 suspected overdose deaths. Another 473 were revived thanks to timely Naloxone administration, according to the statement.
Erika Shortway, director of Recovery Services for Prevention is Key, said the Recovery Center would offer a “warm and welcoming” environment for residents in recovery and those seeking help. Programming at the center is expected to be peer lead and will be determined based on the needs of the resident who use it, according to the statement.
“We want residents to be able to come the center for help and to continue to have a voice in the support we provide them,” Shortway said in the statement.
In addition to the programming at the Recovery Center, individuals in recovery will also have access to a host of other services provided at the Human Services Building, including Burlington County’s Housing Hub, which specializes in housing assistance, the Board of Social Services and the County’s Department of Veterans Services.
“We are so excited for the center to be finally opening and it seems to be the final piece to the puzzle here in the human services building. That missing piece to the puzzle are peer recovery specialists who intimately identify with all who walk through the door,” Richard Alexander, CPRS outreach coordinator for Prevention is Key/CARES, said in the statement.
Hopson said the Recovery Center’s launch marked the latest of several initiatives taken by the county board to improve residents’ access to drug treatment and other critical services.
In July, the board approved a contract extension with Maryville Inc. to continue services at the Post House treatment center in Pemberton Township, according to the statement. The 48-bed facility offers services for male patients struggling with substance abuse and other co-occurring disorder.
“Our board has promised to govern responsibly but also with compassion and empathy for the struggles our residents face every single day,” Hopson said in the statement. “The Recovery Center is an extension of that promise. There are real people who will benefit greatly from a program like this. It’s why I’m so proud we’re launching this initiative.”
Prevention is Key will launch virtual services in Burlington County on Sept. 28. For information about the services and online sessions, visit www.preventioniskey.org.