Drug rehab center coming soon to Robeson County – The Robesonian


Jessica Horne Staff writer
Shown is the site for a proposed drug rehab center, located at 1165 E. Parkton Tobermory Road near Parkton. The center is funded by a state budget allocation of $10 million.
Center funded by $10 million state budget allocation
Shown is the site for a proposed drug rehab center, located at 1165 E. Parkton Tobermory Road near Parkton. The center is funded by a state budget allocation of $10 million.
Grimes
Britt
Wilkins
LUMBERTON — The project to launch a drug treatment and rehab center near Parkton is moving forward.
The center is funded by a $10 million allocation to Hope Alive by legislators in the state budget signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper on Nov. 18, 2021. Hope Alive is a nonprofit organization of Greater Hope International Church in Lumberton.
The allocation will be distributed by providing $5 million this fiscal year which ends June 30 and $5 million in Fiscal Year 2022-23, according to Senate Bill 105.
Hope Alive, which has not provided such medical care before, will partner with Robeson Health Care Corporation in the effort to provide services.
“Also they’ll be working with the Robeson County RCORP Consortium, which is a network of stakeholders and providers, including UNC Southeastern Health, UNC-Pembroke, the Lumbee Tribe, and Robeson Health Care,” said Sen. Danny Britt in a statement.
The Robeson Rural Communities Opioid Response Program Implementaion Consortium was funded by a $1 million Health Resources and Services Administration grant “to strengthen and expand substance use disorder (SUD)/Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) prevention, treatment, and recovery services in order to enhance access to treatment and movement towards recovery among residents of Robeson County,” according to its website.
“This brings together those who have the expertise and resources to help treat these substance use disorders, while also including a faith-based element, which is important to me,” he added.
Building and services
At 1165 E. Parkton Tobermory Road near Parkton, the building has been listed by Realty One Group and is pending under contract, a real estate official told The Robesonian this week.
The building’s market value was assessed at $842,400 in 2010, according to Robeson County tax records. The building was formerly used as a nursing home under the name Green Manor Rest Home.
“The funding’s gonna support a recovery community which will have several phases and components to it,” said Bart Grimes, chief of Behavioral Health at Robeson Health Care Corporation.
The building should include a residential facility that has phases including a detox crisis phase, residential treatment model and therapeutic community phase and an aftercare program that includes transfer to a center with peer support, Grimes said.
It is unclear yet if the aftercare program will take place in a building funded by the $10 million allocation, or if additional funding will be sought later for the effort, he said.
Plans have not been finalized yet, he said. But, a scope of work is being developed.
GHIC Pastor Ron Barnes did not wish to comment to The Robesonian on behalf of Hope Alive, but provided a message the church shared on social media concerning the center.
“The Therapeutic Community model will expand into the community at large,” the statement reads.
“Upon successful completion of the initial residential stay, participants will be integrated back into the community where a robust, recovery-oriented supportive environment will be established. The strategy is to create a recovery drop-in center and safe community housing options for those in recovery,” the statement on GHIC’s Facebook page reads.
For now, the building has been identified and architects have looked at it, Grimes said. Hope Alive continues to communicate with state officials about the project.
Grimes anticipates funding to arrive sometime in March.
“Then as the money comes we’ll be able to make some moves,” he said.
Decision making
Stakeholders in the consortium had conversations prior to COVID’s arrival about building a facility, Grimes said.
But, a Hope Alive member spoke to various stakeholders within and outside of the group, he said.
One person reached by a Hope Alive representative was state Sen. Danny Britt.
Britt said conversations with a Lumberton Health Care representative gave him the impression that the Lumbee Tribe was not interested in the project. He also said at the time UNC Health Southeastern was not in the position to take on the project because of its merger into the UNC Health system.
“As part of that process, when hope alive came forward and other groups did not I asked Hope Alive to partner with an organization that has a clear track record of success treating substance use disorders. My involvement in this has been primarily getting Robeson Health Care Corp to be a partner because they have the experience and relationship with the community,” he told The Robesonian in a statement.
However, a representative from the Lumbee Tribe said the group was unaware of the funding and was not approached about interest in the project.
“The Lumbee Tribe of N.C. was unaware of the funding opportunity from the state,” said Tammy Maynor, interim tribal administrator for the Lumbee Tribe of N.C.
Former Lumbee Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin spoke of the idea to construct a recovery center during discussions with local officials in May 2020 to combat the opioid crisis in Robeson County. The center, which he spoke of, would seek to drive down overdose deaths in the American Indian community, which accounted for 59% of OD deaths that year, according to Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins.
“The entire community is suffering, and statistics indicate that the Lumbee people have been disproportionately impacted and carry a substantial burden as a result. It is for these reasons, along with the unfortunate fact that there are very few community resources available to address the needs of individuals suffering from substance use disorders, concerned community stakeholders banded together to develop a solution,” the statement on GHIC’s Facebook page reads.
“This group consists of affected family members, people in recovery, the business community, human service agencies, institutes of higher education and elected officials. These elected officials listened to the community and recognized the problems and needs. They have been instrumental in advocating at the highest level of State Government as well as with other local officials,” according to the statement.
Maynor told The Robesonian in a statement that the tribe will lend a hand in the initiative.
“We are looking forward to collaborating with Hope Alive as they work to support our community. The Lumbee community has been hit hard by the drug epidemic and all resources are needed to help combat this crucial issue,” she said.
A plan was not submitted for the project, Britt said.
The plan will be based on the partnership of Robeson Health Care Corporation and Hope Alive, which is “required by legislation,” he said.
“Sometimes the money moves faster than the details and we wanted to ensure we were able to get these dollars down to Robeson County before they were lost to Durham or wake forever,” Britt said in a statement. “Statute will also require mandatory reporting and oversight by the health care oversight committee.”
However, the senator said he wasn’t the only legislator who supported the idea and saw the need for such facility in Robeson County.
“Legislators from the House and Senate supported this program. The budget had broad bipartisan support and was signed into law by Gov. Cooper. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans,” he said. “It’s about getting people in Robeson County the resources and treatment they need if they’re suffering from a substance use disorder.”
Need for the facility
In 2019, the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office responded to 17 overdose deaths, Sheriff Wilkins previously told The Robesonian. There were 51 overdose deaths in the Robeson County in 2020.
The Sheriff’s Office responded to 805 overdose calls in 2021, of which 66 people lost their lives. This year, one person has died as a result of an overdose, he said Friday morning.
Wilkins said the center will be beneficial to Robeson County residents once completed.
“My hope is that once in operation, this program will work in conjunction with our agency LEAD program [Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion] and lead to many recoveries thereby reducing the addiction issues that have plagued many in our county,” Wilkins said.
The LEAD program sends repeat low-level offenders with substance use disorders to a rehab center, rather than jail. The program seeks to provide recovery and prevent more serious crimes from being committed later.
“We will continue our enforcement efforts as well as using the nuisance abatement laws to seize, sale and or destroy property of those selling the poison to our residents for their own benefit,” he said.
Last year, there were 264 visits to the Emergency Department concerning opioid overdoses, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. For the same period in 2020, there were 329 ED visits for opioid overdoses.
In April 2021, Buncombe, Robeson and Randolph counties had the most OD visits to the Emergency Department. Buncombe accounted for 25 visits, Robeson for 21 and Randolph for 18 that month. However, Robeson accounted for the third highest OD visitation rate at 16.1% that month trailing behind McDowell at 24% and Stanley at 20.7%, according to the NCDHHS.
“There’s definitely a need,” said Patrick Cummings, director of Robeson County EMS.
Cummings said a lot of people are “hesitant” to get help with substance use disorders because they will have to travel outside of the county and be away from their loved ones. Several agencies in the county offer services, but the project led by Hope Alive and RHCC would be the first facility in the county to offer long-term treatment.
Cummings called the rehab center a “win-win situation.”
Other centers, treatment programs
There are 20 facilities within 25 miles of Lumberton that offer substance abuse treatment, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s website.
Among them are Robeson Health Care Corporation Bridging Families, Lifebridge Drug and Substance Abuse, Stephens Outreach Center Inc., RHA Behavioral Health, Carter Clinic, Palmer Prevention, UNC Health Southeastern, and more.
Monarch’s Facility-Based Crisis Center in Lumberton offers both “Behavioral Health Urgent Care (BHUC) and Facility-Based Crisis (FBC) programs,” according to Monarch’s website.
The center has a “16-bed non-hospital residential program” that aids people suffering from mental illnesses or who are at risk for harm, according to the site. The program also offers “medical detoxification and aftercare planning.”
“It’s really the first stop for people who are on their substance use disorder journey,” said Brian Gott, Public Relations manager for Monarch.
Monarch then refers patients to other facilities with long-term treatment programs if needed, he said.
The Lumbee Tribe offers treatment through the Medication Assisted Treatment program. The program was made possible through a $1.5 million Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Services are rendered each year to about 63 Lumbee Tribe members within the tribal service area of Robeson, Cumberland, Scotland and Hoke counties.
“I think the more programs we have, the better,” Gott said. “…They work well together.”
For more information on resources for people with substance use disorders, visit samhsa.gov or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Call:
T:910-739-4322
Address:
2175 N. Roberts Ave,
Lumberton, NC 28358

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