Broome County’s drug treatment center plans to move into phase two

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TOWN OF DICKINSON (WBNG) — County and state officials are saying Broome County’s drug treatment center, Helio Health, has played a factor in lowering the number of opioid deaths in the county.

Helio Health is now moving forward to implement phase two.

That will include residential treatment, with longer stays, something officials say is much needed in the Southern Tier.

Right now, Helio Health offers medically supervised withdrawal, a treatment that typically only lasts four to seven days.

Officials say they think it has helped fight opioid numbers in the area, but there is still a lot more work to be done.

“Treatment doesn’t end after the fifth day after you detox, treatment is a process that takes months and months,” said Broome County Executive Jason Garnar.

Phase two looks to open up more options to the people of the Southern Tier.

“There’s still a concern that some folks still have to leave the community for treatment. We don’t want that, we want to be able to keep people here,” said Helio Health CEO Jeremy Klemanski.

The Helio Health facility and its expansion into phase two is funded by state dollars.

“There was not a new tax levy to pay for this. There was already money in the treatment system that was appropriated to help pay for this facility,” said Klemanski.

County Executive Garnar says it’s actually saving the county money.

“When people get help, when they recover, when they stop using heroin, not only are we saving lives, we’re saving taxpayer dollars because that’s fewer services that people are going to require,” said Garnar.

And the planning for Phase two only comes after what state and local officials call a successful first six months of Helio Health.

Tuesday, they gathered at the center, stepping up to the podium to speak about its achievements.

385 people were admitted to Helio Health during its time open thus far.

“You can potentially say there’s a number of lives, that have been saved in all those numbers,” said State Assemblyman Clifford Crouch.

100 percent of the people were from upstate New York, with 65 percent from Broome County alone.

That was something the community was concerned about, before the treatment center opened.

“There were plenty of critics and pundits at the time we were having the initial conversation, that were sure that people would be coming from Detroit and New York City, and Philadelphia and you inundate our community, but that’s just not the case,” said State Senator Fred Akshar.

Garnar says the facility is the right size for the Southern Tier, and he thinks that is what has contributed to its success.

Klemnski says since Phase Two is in its beginning design stages, there is not yet a timeline as to when it will be implemented.

Annabelle Flaherty

Annabelle Flaherty

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