Addiction treatment facility to open in Pitt County

GRIMESLAND, NC (WITN) – There is hope on the horizon for many people in Pitt County as they celebrate the groundbreaking of a center for people battling addiction.

Roughly 14% of people in the US fought substance abuse disorders.

“I know countless people who have died from the disease of addiction, some family members, some close friends,” Charniece Harris said.

Harris has recovered from addiction herself, and her journey has inspired her to look into starting her own group, House of Hugs for Women and Children. While it is just in its infancy, Harris said the group would focus on residency for people recovering from addiction.

She attended the groundbreaking Thursday for the Haven at Blue Creek, a 75,000-square-foot facility that will be built on 250 acres of land in Grimesland. Harris said she’s thrilled to see much-needed services coming to Pitt County.

During a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility, CEO Colleen Balot welcomed anyone who had lost someone to addiction to ring a bell in their honor.

Harris, who met Balot during her journey in addiction recovery, herself rang the bell. “Addiction affects everyone, whether you know someone directly or indirectly,” Harris said.

Balot was inspired by her own struggles with addiction four years ago.

“I think one of the biggest things that Haven’s gonna do is include the families in the process because a lot of times they think it’s just the patient or the person struggling from the addiction… It affects the entire family, so we’re gonna be able to make sure they’re a part of this process,” Balot explained.

The 84-bed center will house people for up to 90 days, helping them sort through trauma and mental health disorders.

“What I am so excited about as far as the Haven is that it is holistic in its approach,” Winterville Baptist Church Pastor Mike Dixon said. “Its plans are to minister to the whole person, so physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.”

Simpson Mayor Rich Zeck feels this is a positive move, despite some skepticism from the community.

“At first glance, people are very concerned because they don’t understand,” Zeck said. “And what they don’t understand, they have fear. I would live next door, I would live on campus, it’s that safe. It’s a family-oriented type of program.”

Sy Atezaz Saeed, East Carolina University psychiatry professor, knows this type of rehabilitation is desperately needed.

“Eastern North Carolina is an area that has had problems with access to care in many areas for most of the chronic conditions, for psychiatric disorders, but especially for addiction services, so we don’t have a facility like this currently,” Saeed said .

“A lot of North Carolinians are going out of state, like I did to get the treatment, so by having Haven here, we’re keeping the money in our community, and we’re keeping our people here,” Balot added.

The Haven at Blue Creek is set to open in late 2023. It’s a $34 million investment.

The facility is being paid for through state and county grants, along with donations and the Balot family.

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