Viewpoint: Addiction-treatment center works to address neighbors’ concerns
My job is to keep hope alive. The extraordinary staff with whom I share this vision would say the same thing. By offering treatment options to those caught up in the horror of opioid addiction, Brandywine Counseling and Community Services keeps hope alive.
Wilmington is a great city. It also has an array of social and health challenges – the largest addiction problem in the state is one of them. BCCS is the city’s only provider of medication for addiction treatment.
The opioid epidemic has put a strain on every county, every leader, every community in our country. Here in Wilmington, the increase in opioid addiction since 2012 has been meteoric. People from all neighborhoods and family backgrounds have died from overdose. This isn’t happening to someone else. It is happening to our colleagues, neighbors, relatives, and friends. And they all deserve the right to get better, to receive the medical attention they need, and to re-enter society as functioning and contributing members.
BCCS serves as a voice on prevention and treatment. We work hard to educate and inform communities about preventing addiction and, if addicted, how to reduce harm and recover. To achieve these goals, we have robust community-outreach practices and run a busy treatment facility on Lancaster Avenue.
BCCS has long worked out of our Lancaster Pike location. Our recovery clinic has approximately 600 clients through its doors every morning between 5 and 8 a.m. Our Lancaster location has three programs serving 1,200 clients. Spreading our services out to other locations would dramatically reduce the number of patrons at the site, and, for those needing treatment, open options closer to their own neighborhoods.
We’ve heard our Lancaster corridor neighbors and put in place policies and procedures that have made an impact in the community: limited treatment hours, additional cameras and security, improved DART schedules. The police have confirmed that crime in the area has dropped significantly. We’re also further addressing loitering in front of the building, where clients are waiting for bus service by raising funds for a BCCS-operated transportation system.
We are working with many organizations to locate additional viable treatment locations to serve our Wilmington community. This will drastically ease the burden on our Lancaster Avenue site.
Our Newark location is a good example of neighborhood/community-based treatment. At this location we offer a medication for addiction treatment to approximately 575 clients, with the possibility of a second clinic as the need increases.
We ask our Lancaster Avenue neighbors to be patient for a little longer.
Treatment is a daily routine. Recovery takes work and commitment. We invite neighbors to help us reach our fundraising goal of $750,000 to set up a transportation network and help with the relocation.
We are committed to increasing much-needed access to care to help build healthier families and stronger, healthier communities. At BCCS we provide the tools to help people transform their thinking and their lives. We remind them that a better future is within reach.
We make families whole again.
Change is good.
Lynn Morrison, Ph.D., is the chief executive officer of Brandywine Counseling and Community Services.