Desperate need for more addiction treatment facilities

MONROE, NC — One addiction center is trying to address the growing need for more addiction treatment beds in Union County.

What You Need To Know

According to the state Department of Health and Human Services there was a 40% increase in overdose deaths in 2020 compared to the previous year

In 2021 overdose deaths continued to rise but at a slower rate

Bridge to Recovery treatment center recently received a $1.3 million grant to build two new buildings, which will double inpatient capacity

Every morning April Pressley gets in a van and drives a group of women to receive addiction treatment. She has been working with the addiction treatment center Bridge to Recovery since early July.

“It makes me feel really good to be a part of it and give back,” Pressley said.

Pressley knows what it’s like to walk in their shoes. It wasn’t very long ago that she was battling that same addiction.

“I was 23 when I tried crack for the first time,” Pressley said. “I struggled with it for 14 years.”

She was sexually assaulted as a teenager, and she believes that is what triggered her addiction.

“Being through counseling I opened up and realized that it wasn’t my fault,” Pressley said. “I guess I thought it was my fault, because it was one of my dad’s friends and a younger guy.”

The dark path she took led to several arrests and prison time. She tried several times to get sober, but one of her challenges was finding a proper treatment facility.

“It’s very hard and very limited, especially for women and especially in this area,” Pressley said. “There are hardly any opportunities.”

Bridge to Recovery is located in a rural part of Union County. The executive director, Lew Davis, says it is the only therapeutic inpatient treatment center in the county.

“We probably have to turn away six or eight people a day,” Davis said. “We try to get them phone numbers for other facilities, but I tell them the truth that those places are probably filled also.”

It’s why he is excited that the center recently received grant money to built two new buildings and add 24 more beds.

“Our mission has always been affordable or free care to the community, so we are desperately trying to hold onto that,” Davis said.

Davis said it costs about $2,500 a month per patient. Their facility is in such high demand because they cover the full cost of about 50% of their patients, thanks to donations and funding.

“I came in on a scholarship,” Pressley said. “I didn’t have the money because of the life I was living. If I didn’t have the opportunity to come here on a scholarship I wouldn’t have had the treatment.”

Pressley says this treatment center was her saving grace. But she worries there are still a lot of people in need, and 24 additional beds will only go so far.

“My prayer is that people can have the opportunity to have help like I did, because that has changed my life,” Pressley said.

Davis said while they have received money to built the additional beds, they still need more funding for operation costs. This includes hiring more licensed therapy workers. The grant money was provided through the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund in the recent state budget.

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