In opioid-hit west Michigan, Catholic Charities plans to open detox center

In opioid-hit west Michigan, Catholic Charities plans to open detox center

Credit: SeaRick1/Shutterstock.
Credit: SeaRick1/Shutterstock.

.- Catholic Charities West Michigan has announced plans to build a $4.5 million detox center, expected to serve 700 people a year recovering from drug or alcohol addiction.

The new center in Muskegon, on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, will have 14 beds and offer three- to five-night stays, with some 80 employees including a doctor, according to local media.

Chris Slater, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Western Michigan, told CNA that they expect to break ground on the new center before the end of the year, with a 12 to 14 month timeline.

Slater said he used a Community Needs Assessment, released by various agencies active in the city including Mercy Health System, to determine what areas the community needed the most help improving.

The answer, he said, was a no-brainer.

"All throughout all of them, right on the top of the list, is substance abuse disorder treatment. It's ravaging Muskegon county," he said.

"It would have been negligent not to do something about it, in my opinion."

A report from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, released in 2018, found that Grand Rapids, which is less than an hour’s drive from Muskegon, had the second-most total opioid related deaths from 2013-2015 in the state after Detroit, with 138 reported.

The report found that the largest number of drug-related overdose deaths occurred among men aged 26-35, and men aged 46-55.

The county didn't previously have a facility to treat drug and alcohol addicts under the supervision of a doctor. Slater says he hopes the new Catholic Charities detox center will plug holes in the community's ability to care for people in need.

The county also ranks highly for per-capita deaths related to alcohol abuse.

"So when we had patients in Muskegan who wanted treatment, we were shipping them all over the state. And that posed another problem because even if they could find a bed for them, then we had transportation issues, and no way to get these patients there."

He said for the past 18 months, he has worked closely with healthcare providers, social service agencies, the sheriff's department, and the prosecutor's office to get a feel for the community's support for the project, which he says was strong from the get-go and has continued to build.

Slater said there will be opportunities for patients – who will be served regardless of their religious beliefs – to meet with a chaplain and to make use of a chapel being built along with a new office building near the detox center.

"We'll be equipped to incorporate faith into patients' recovery as they request," he said.

WoodTV8 reports that the new detox center will neighbor the Muskegon Rescue Mission, which has its own food pantry, and as a result Catholic Charities will no longer have its own food pantry but will partner with other organizations to support their food services.

Catholic Charities obtained the land for the project through a land swap with the city, which will receive Catholic Charities’ old building, located less than a mile away, once the new center is completed.

A spokesperson for the city said that revitalizing the old building will help make it a “high-quality new asset” in the area.

Tags: Opioid addiction, Diocese of Grand Rapids, Catholic Charities West Michigan