Faced with a distinct shortage of opioid detox beds locally, the town of Gates is partnering with three addiction treatment centers in Pennsylvania, town officials said Thursday.
Gates to Recovery, the drop-in center for people seeking treatment for addiction in the town, announced what it called “a collaborative project” that will allow Monroe County residents to be treated across state lines.
Summit Behavioral Healthcare, which runs the three centers, said it will provide transportation for patients from Monroe County at the start of their treatment, and back to the county at the end of their stay.
David Attridge, who runs Gates to Recovery and the geographically broader organization Recovery Now NY, said he tries to get people into treatment locally, but there are simply not enough beds.
“When we call and we only have 25 beds, and you have anywhere, any day from 80 people to 300 people trying to get those beds, that’s when we have to start looking outside of the area,” Attridge said.
Attridge added that if he turns people away and asks them to wait until a bed is available, he runs the risk of returning people ready for recovery to the environment that contributed to their addiction.
“It’s a very, very short window of opportunity there before the drug is calling you back,” Attridge said.
Attridge spoke alongside Becky Baker, who lost her son to an overdose in 2016 and now runs support groups for addicted people and their loved ones. They and Gates town Supervisor Mark Assini all faulted the Monroe County government and its health care institutions for the lack of addiction treatment available locally.
Assini echoed Attridge’s count of a total of 25 detox beds active in Monroe County. That would mean no beds have been added since a WXXI investigation revealed the shortage in February, despite an opioid epidemic that grows more deadly by the month and a move by the state to make establishing the beds easier.
“We have the best medical facilities out there. Where are they, and what are they doing?” Baker asked.
Villa of Hope, a treatment center in Rochester, received a $2 million state grant to establish 18 new beds in February. Contacted Thursday, a spokesperson said they expect to open those beds next February.
Rochester Regional Health did not respond to requests for comment for this story, but said in a statement in July that it “continues to detox patients when they present at our hospitals.”
Chip Partner, a vice president for communications at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said treatment options there are limited by capacity, and “the UR Medicine approach to rehab is focused primarily on outpatient services.”
Assini said that’s not good enough. “We have to do better,” he said.