New facility to free up beds at Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic

By William K. Alcorn


Ground was broken Thursday for a $300,000, eight-bed recovery house that will free up beds at the Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic enabling the clinic to provide detoxification services to between 300 and 400 more people annually.

When the Frank and Pearl Gelbman Recovery House opens later this year, it also will serve to reduce the number of people on the detox wait list and the length of time they wait for services, said Jerry Carter, clinic executive director.

“As the rate of opiate addiction soars in Mahoning County, the need for detoxification services has become staggering,” Carter said.

Previously, he said the clinic treats more than 500 people annually with more than 930 individuals in need of detoxification placed on a wait list — 479 of whom have been on the list for more than a year.

The clinic provides medical services. The Gelbman House on Emery Street adjacent to Neil Kennedy’s main South Side campus on Rush Boulevard provides people with a place to stay while they get outpatient counseling and other services to enhance their chance of recovery, officials said.

The Gelbman House will give people who may not have a strong support system of family and friends a safe environment in which to recover and continue to receive nonmedical behavioral services, Carter said.

Recovery rates are much higher when behavioral counseling is combined with medication, said Orman Hall, director of the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team.

There are new facilities opening across the state, and Neil Kennedy is on the leading edge of that effort, he said.

Hall, former director of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, said the overwhelming and pervasive presence of opiate and heroin addiction in the Mahoning Valley is symbolic of the problem across the entire state.

“People are dying of the abuse of opiates and heroin at historic levels,” Hall said. “There is important work to be done to make our citizens safe; but there is presently a lack of facilities and health-care professionals to deal with the problem.”

The “predictors” for success for long-term recovery are staying in treatment for 90 days or longer, family involvement and a 12-step program, Carter said.

The Gelbman House will be valuable in keeping people in treatment longer, he added.

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