In another year, the latest weapon against the opioid epidemic will be unveiled. The detox center for the corner of Merle Avenue and Route 66 in Greenport was approved unanimously the planning board Wednesday.
The proposed 10,610-square-foot, 20-bed, medically supervised withdrawal and stabilization facility will be constructed on 1.5 acres and would open in nine months to a year if all goes well. The single-story building would serve as a place for patients to seek help and get referrals and transportation to a recovery center.
We support the detox center because it is needed to help address the social shift in attitude toward addicts as victims, not criminals. We also support it because it will be available to patients in Greene County, too. The opioid epidemic strongly affects the populations of both counties and it must be tackled as a regional problem.
“It is a stopgap to help somebody who voluntarily wants to get help, who is suffering from addiction,” attorney Paul Freeman said Tuesday on behalf of People USA, the nonprofit proposing the project, at a public hearing at Greenport Town Hall. “Columbia and Greene counties are two of the worst per capita opioid trouble spots in the entire state of New York.”
Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson offered his support.
“The trend is going down across all of the other counties in New York state except for Columbia and Greene counties,” Johnson said. “The only way we can stop this epidemic and get people real help and save lives is if we change the narrative and we have facilities like this.”
So, in a year or so, the next shield against opioid infiltration of the Twin Counties will be open. The detox center is another significant step to reduce the scourge of addiction in our communities.