Officials at a new drug research and treatment facility that opened in Riverhead Town this week said they did it earlier than expected, based on evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people with drug and alcohol addiction Challenges.
"What we see is an enormous need for our services at this time," said Andrew Drazan, co-founder and general manager of the Wellbridge Addiction Treatment and Research Center in Calverton. "There is isolation, despair, depression, great fear, there are liquor stores with lines going around the block. Even for those who don't fight normally, we find that people treat themselves to deal with this pandemic become. "
Drazan cited a recent study by The Well Being Trust, a national foundation based in Oakland, California that works for mental, social and spiritual health and predicted that conditions such as isolation and unemployment caused by the pandemic could result Nationwide 75,000 deaths from drug or alcohol abuse and suicide.
Dr. Harshal Kirane, left, medical director at the Wellbridge Addiction Treatment and Research Center, and Andrew Drazan, co-founder and CEO of Wellbridge, on the Calverton campus. Credit: Randee Daddona
Wellbridge, which collaborated on the project with Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in the state of New York, was opened on May 18, weeks before the debut scheduled for early summer.
The inpatient center cost $ 90 million and includes a detoxification facility, a primary care department, research laboratories, and a wellness center. It has six buildings, 80 rooms and 130 beds. Wellbridge can treat up to 130 patients when it is fully staffed with 95 full-time employees. There are currently 61 employees. Stays can range from five to seven days for medical stabilization, between 30 days for rehabilitation and 60 days or more for a longer stay.
Dr. Harshal Kirane, Wellbridge's medical director, said the most significant factor in the potential for increased addiction rates was high unemployment. Kirane added that access to inpatient substance use services is a challenge as some facilities that treat such disorders have been misused to meet the specific needs of COVID-19.
"People who would otherwise have access to care in a hospital or rehab facility are really struggling to find these types of services," said Kirane.
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Richard Buckman, a founding member of the Long Island Recovery Association, an advocacy group for addiction in Hauppauge, said certified recovery peer coaches who were trained by the association said that many of the clients they work with are returning Consume alcohol and drugs.
"This pandemic is the perfect storm for our population," said Buckman. "The solution to addiction is the community to remove isolation, and the fact that everyone is forced to isolate has hit a different level of fear."
Jeffrey Kraut, executive vice president of strategy and analytics at Northwell, was involved in the planning of the facility. Kraut said Thursday that Northwell had never had the opportunity to work with another residential treatment company and that Wellbridge was a "natural extension" of Northwell's other investments in providing substance treatments.
"We saw that there is a need and that this is a unique model," said Kraut. “They wanted to support our desire to support education and research. We believe this will be a wonderful resource for the region. "
Staying well in Wellbridge
The $ 90 million center includes a detoxification facility, a primary care department, research laboratories, and a wellness center.
Wellbridge officials said the facility would have several procedures in place to ensure security during the pandemic, including temperature screening, assessment tools that require the use of masks, strict social distance, testing for COVID-19 for everyone Patient and an accompanying family member at home prior to their arrival and hand hygiene procedure.
Jean-Paul Salamanca covers the East End. It focuses on Riverhead, Southold and Greenport on the North Fork, as well as Hampton Bays, Westhampton Beach, Flanders, Riverside and Quogue on the South Fork.