OHIOVILLE — Nearly two years after Beaver County Behavioral Health awarded a Philadelphia-based nonprofit fund to open a drug rehabilitation program, Resources for Human Development, or RHD, has found a permanent home.

Licensing is complete for RHD’s Ohioville program, which will include 24 short-term residential treatment programs with the possibility for long-term treatment if needed, said Jeff DeSantis, regional director for RHD.

“This epidemic is serious,” DeSantis said. “We’re good at what we do. We have a long history of success and a lot of experience. We know there is a lot of stigma out there. People might not be happy that a program like this exists, but for people who have loved ones who deal with addiction, we or other providers like us might be the piece of the puzzle that helps get their family members back on track.”

In October, RHD purchased property on Tuscarawas Road in Ohioville for $514,400, according to Beaver County property records. In January 2017, the county awarded a $2.8 million contract to RHD to create a program that includes detox, short-term and long-term rehabilitation programs.

Gerard Mike, administrator of Beaver County Behavioral Health, said his department is excited to offer another treatment facility in the county.

“We are thrilled to have this needed and quality service option now finally available to Beaver County residents,” Mike said. “The service provider, RHD, delivers similar services in other areas outside of Beaver County very successfully, and we expect nothing less here.”

RHD planned to offer a 39-bed unit, with seven designated for detoxification, 24 for short-term residential treatment and eight for long-term residential treatment.

However, DeSantis said, the program will not initially include a detox program or designated long-term treatment beds. He anticipates that most beds will be used for short-term treatment, which typically involves a less than 90-day stay. 

“We’re opening with less beds than we had hoped to have,” he said. “But we are going to fulfill everything we are asked to do.

“We’re getting started on a smaller scale than we originally hoped, but something is better than nothing in this epidemic.”

At least 210 people have died from opioid overdoses in Beaver County since January 2016. Beaver County Emergency Services received 1,300 overdose calls in 2016 and 2017. 2018 call data isn’t yet available.

In September, officials said RHD was offered a lease to operate detox beds at Heritage Valley Beaver hospital. However, that offer was rescinded after the plans were made public.

“The health system completed an assessment of Heritage Valley Beaver, and it was determined that the hospital did not have appropriate space available to safely facilitate the needs of this project,” Suzanne Sakson, Heritage Valley spokeswoman, said in an email.

That wasn’t the only setback the program has faced in the past 13 months.

Plans to locate at the former Five Points Elementary School in Hopewell Township were thwarted after developer Larry Dorsch and township officials weren’t forthcoming with the type of facility planned for the building. The property was zoned to allow an extended-care facility with zoning board approval, but during public hearings, Dorsch didn’t tell the board that the property would be used for an addiction center. A memo between the township zoning officer and other officials surfaced indicating that Dorsch had told township officials his intent.

The zoning hearing board asked Dorsch to reapply with full information on what type of business would locate on the property, leading him to withdrew his application and RHD to pull out of their plans to work with Dorsch’s Carnegie-based Real Estate Development Associates.

DeSantis said that RHD has had a great experience working with Ohioville officials. Patients won’t be able to come and go from the facility, DeSantis said.

“We want to be good neighbors,” he said. “Safety of the community, safety of our employees and safety of our patients are very important to us.”

This content was originally published here.

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