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Avery Road Treatment Center, a residential substance abuse center for low-income County residents, will be demolished soon, and a new facility constructed nearby.
During the winter months, work is scheduled to begin on a new treatment center, which includes room for only four additional beds, even though the effects from opioid abuse continue to grow.
“We haven’t yet bent the curve on this very scary opioid epidemic,” said Meghan Westwood, Avery’s program director.
Avery Road Treatment Center in Rockville was built in 1991 of prefabricated modules, which are now in disrepair. There are days, Westwood said, when some of the center’s 20 medical detoxification beds and 40 intermediate-care beds cannot be used due to building problems.
“It’s really outdated and needs repairs,” she said. The plans only include “four additional beds, unfortunately, but they are replacing a really aging building.”
Rev. Timothy Warner of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Rockville, when speaking at the County’s third annual County International Overdose Awareness Day ceremony Aug. 30, called the impending construction “a big deal.” He called opioid abuse “a God-size problem.”
The new treatment center will be a three-story building close to the current facility, which is a one-story structure. Noelker & Hull Associates, Inc., in Frederick, is the project’s architect.
Avery Road Treatment Center will continue to provide the same services for people 18 and older.
Westwood blamed the decision not to increase the number of beds at the new center on “funding issues.”
However, she said, “We are happy that we will be going to demolition and construction in the next few months.”
When Westwood began working at Avery more than a dozen years ago, “one-third of the population was opioid-dependent. Now, 75 to 80 percent of our admissions” are opioid-related, she said.
“There is a constant need,” to provide help for drug and alcohol abusers, she said, adding that the opioid epidemic affects many people from varying backgrounds.
“It crosses gender, social, and academic” backgrounds, she said. The one population that appears to be affected the most are younger people in their mid-20s, she added.
Avery Center “pretty much is always full,” she said. There is a call-in list, and it’s not uncommon for people to wait “a couple of days” before being admitted. We can rarely do a same-day admission.”
To demolish the current building and construct a new one, the County entered into a public-private partnership, with financial assistance provided from the State to complete the project.
While working on the project, most of the Center’s services will be temporary located offsite on Potomac Healthcare Foundation property. The County entered into a service contract and lease with that foundation more than a year ago.