ROCKINGHAM — Sen. Tom McInnis included a $50,000 one-time appropriation in this fiscal year’s budget to support the construction of Samaritan Colony’s new campus, the Samaritan Women’s Recovery Center.
The Women’s Recovery Center will be the first residential addiction treatment center for women in Richmond County. Samaritan Colony, a nonprofit 12-bed residential substance abuse treatment center that began accepting patients in February 1975, serves only men.
Women suffering from addiction in Richmond County have to drive substantial distances to find treatment, with the nearest options being Path of Hope in Lexington — about an hour and 20 minutes away — and R.J. Blakely Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center in Butner, which is more than two hours from Rockingham.
“We cannot allow good people who have made bad decisions to continue on their bad way of life and then become wards of the state and become a burden on society when their human capital is retrievable and savable,” McInnis said, calling opioids “pieces of poison.” “We need everybody participating in the free-enterprise system and working and paying taxes and being good citizens.”
The funds will become available in October, according to Harold Pearson, director of Samaritan Colony. McInnis included a similar appropriation for Bridge to Recovery in Stanly County for the last fiscal year. The senator also has been a primary sponsor on the STOP Act and the HOPE Act, which aim to curb the rising trend of “doctor shopping” and the over-prescription of opioids.
Constance Pearson, who will lead the SWRC, said that the center will also be much cheaper than these other long-distance treatment options, such as R.J. Blakely, which costs patients $809 per day compared to SWRC, which she said will cost only $148 per day. Harold Pearson said they receive two to three calls a week from people seeking treatment for female addicts.
The Colony is in the process of writing grants in anticipation of the approval of their certificate of need, which is expected to be handed down from the state on Sept. 1, according to Harold Pearson. He said there’s “no reason” why they can’t break ground on the new facility by the first of the year and expects to be able to begin offering treatment services by spring of 2020.
Harold Pearson said that in his 34 years of being involved with Samaritan Colony, he’s seen the ripple effect that the male addicts’ time there can have on them and their families, and is excited to see that service extended to women.
“Hopefully, this cycle of addiction is being broken in these families, and the same thing can happen with this female facility,” Harold Pearson said. “It has been needed for so long here in Richmond County.”
Samaritan Colony is not a free treatment center but does not turn away people in need because of their financial standing. Clients are asked to pay an amount that is based on an assessment of their financial situation. According to the Colony, it provided $450,000 in charity care in 2017.
“The end result is we’ve got to get them back to being productive members of society,” McInnis said. “We cannot continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome.”
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]