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Viewpoint: Addiction-treatment center works to address neighbors’ concerns

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Lynn Morrison
Guest Columnist

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. 

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  1. Avatar photo
    Kathy November 15, 2019

    This place is a disgrace. Not only do they keep the addict using for years and years until they finally die. Treatment only works if the person stays clean. Not forever on a substitute. I have been clean 18 years, active in a 12 step program and only have seen 2 people get off of methadone and stay clean. $$$$$ with high doses, keeping per trapped in the vicious cycle. On Lancaster ave look close, 24 hour prostitution, drug deals all day. What a convenient place to meet up. Go into the stores on the books surrounding the building. Behaviors of the using addict. Medicaid drivers will take you anywhere for a buck. Been there, some that

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    Kevin Montgomery November 15, 2019

    I am commenting as a local neighbor. BCCS is not doing nearly enough to address the concerns of those of us who have to deal with the issues that come with the overwhelming number of people they serve on a daily basis. The resolutions that BCCS has implemented so far are the equivalent of a band aid on a bullet hole.

    The mere presence of BCCS has completely destroyed the businesses located around the clinic. The 7-11 and gas stations on Lancaster Ave are not safe. Even though they are close, we do not patronize either due to the crowds of loiterers.

    To be fair to BCCS, the epidemic is not their fault. And they are one of the few who are actively working to address it. I do not want to NIMBY the clinic somewhere else. But serving 1,800 people per day in a residential neighborhood is not sustainable. I doubt the people near the Newark location would want to see this many people either.

    It is my understanding from conversations with both (former) city council member Bob Williams and Mayor Purzycki that local government has tried numerous times to work with BCCS to find alternate locations to ease the burden on Lancaster Ave. It is also my understanding that BCCS is the party that is not negotiating in good faith with city and state government.

    So, Dr. Morrison, as a nearby resident who has been complaining about this location for well over 5+ years; my patience has run out. You are helping one group of people at the expense of an entire community. This city and state has plenty of empty office and industrial space that can be found. You’re simply not trying.

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    S Smith November 15, 2019

    Thank you Kevin. This is “ lip service” and total BS. I have lived here over 9 years and BCC has been spewing the same line for years. Dr. Morrison could care less about the neighborhoods destroyed by the sheer quantity of clients each day. Her pitch about extra police, etc. is also a half truth, AT BEST. The Colonial Heights neighborhood was instrumental in the added police presence. As far as I recall Dr. Morrison has never even bothered to meet with the neighborhoods she says she cares about. “Please be patient”… is she kidding????? Her comments are insulting, half-truths and show a total disregard for the communities. No one denies the need for the service but their lack of interest in exploring new sites, even when 2 were just about handed to them and BOTH WERE ON MAJOR BUS ROUTES is infuriating. I have no respect for any CEO or Organization who, in at least 9 years( could be more, I was not here) has been unable to find a solution other then “ too bad, we aren’t moving and sorry we can’t help what goes on with our clients once they leave the center”. Please be patient, seriously?????

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    Bill Simmer November 16, 2019

    As someone who grew up with a Half-way House in my basement, I am clearly sensitive to the issues around addiction. However, moving the location is a win/win for everyone involved, and it is mind numbing to try to understand how our government officials cannot pull off something as simple as moving a location!!! This “quality” of response would not be accepted in the private sector. One has to ask the question, “just what are we paying you guys for?” Epic fail, complete with all the regular political rhetoric.


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