GREENUP COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) – Treatment for people suffering from substance abuse issues is another step closer in eastern Kentucky.
Addiction Recovery Care (ARC) announced Friday that its purchase agreement with Bon Secours Mercy Health for part of the former Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital (OLBH) complex in Russell has been “fully executed.”
“The region was tied to that facility. It’s been a staple of the community for years and for decades, and being able to open that back up, it’s going to mean more than just economic opportunity, it’s going to mean more than just addiction treatment help, it’s going to mean hope for an entire region,” said Matt Brown, senior vice president of administration at ARC.
Last December, ARC announced plans to develop the former campus as a residential treatment center. They also plan to open detox and psychiatric units, as well. OLBH closed in 2020 after nearly seven decades of service.
“Bellefonte had one of the most successful detox facilities in our region at the time and psychiatric unit. We’ll be able to open those back up, and not only those, but add the residential drug treatment and job skills piece of our program,” Brown said.
All four phases of treatment will be housed at the former hospital.
“It really increases the quality of care for all of our clients, and allows them to not just get the drug treatment they need but also the life skills the job training and the other support services that help them move out of addiction and into recovery, ” Brown said.
According to ARC officials, its new treatment center is expected to create about 250 local jobs, including nurses, counselors, case managers and maintenance workers, among others.
“We know that will help not only tackle the drug problem in the area but will also make a big economic difference,” said Brown.
The purchase agreement includes 27 acres of the property and includes the entire main hospital building.
250 jobs expected from ARC’s purchase of part of OLBH property
Kayla Parsons, vice president of business administration at ARC, completed residential treatment with ARC in 2016 after nearly a decade of on and off addiction. At that time, residential treatment was not available in the Ashland area.
“I needed residential treatment, and there were centers in Lexington and Louisville, but as a mother it was really hard for me to go far away. It was hard for me to even come to Louisa 45 minutes away and be away from my kids,” she said. “It’s hard to step away and having it there in the back yard having it so close in a place that’s familiar would just make it so much easier.”
She also had a front row seat of the struggling people went through when OLBH closed. Her sister and brother-in-law lost their jobs.
“It was really hard watching them fear for their family and not necessarily knowing how they were going to support their family after the hospital closed. There was a mad scramble for jobs all around the area, and they weren’t sure they were going to be able to get one,” said Parsons.
ARC officials say eastern Kentucky has been hit extra hard by substance abuse and addiction issues – “only worsened amid the pandemic and an alarming rise in fentanyl and synthetic opioids in the drug supply.”
gov. Andy Beshear has been among state leaders who have praised ARC’s mission.
“My faith tells me that second chances are possible. This initiative is going to ensure second chances for deserving Kentuckians struggling with addiction who are ready to transform their lives and show up for themselves, their families and their communities,” Beshear said in a release. “This facility will also provide good jobs in this region, including opportunities for people in recovery looking for a fresh start. Thank you to ARC and its CEO Tim Robinson for working to build a better Kentucky for all.”
Robinson said in the release, “For many of our fellow Kentuckians, addiction and substance use continue to be a daily challenge. ARC remains committed to helping more of these men and women reach long-term recovery and showing them the many opportunities that await them in their next chapter of life.”
According to ARC, it operates more than 30 programs in 21 Kentucky counties. Its nationally recognized Crisis to Career model combines treatment with job training to prepare clients for life after ARC.
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