Join us Thanksgiving morning to burn off some butter at the annual Mendon Turkey Trot!

 For more information please call Gates To Recovery at 310-4080

Registration Pricing:

5K Trail Run: $15.00

2.2 Mile Walk/Run: $10.00

Kids 1 Mile Obstacle Course: $5.00

Register by 10/31/2018 to purchase add-on Race T-shirt: Adult / Youth $10.00 XS-XL / $12.50 XXL  

Proceeds beneficiary: Gates to Recovery

The 5K Trail Run will be chip timed by Overland Timing

Packet Pick Up: November 21st from 5:00 pm - 8:00pm at StudioMove! 

Top 3 Overall (Male and Female)

Top 1 in each of the age categories (Male and Female)

13 and under




40+ (Masters)



16 Mendon Ionia Road
Mendon, NY US 14506

Community Creates 'moving' reminder of daily opioid struggle

Community Creates 'moving' reminder of daily opioid struggle

Gates to Recovery and the community are taking the fight against the opioid crisis on the road.

On Wednesday, a van was wrapped with the words "recovery is possible." 

It was also covered with the faces of people who have died from overdoses. A local support group contributed pictures to the movement. 

The van is meant to be a symbol of hope and a reminder that our fight against the epidemic is far from over. 

"Education is key.. awareness," stated Becky Baker, SOARS. "I think people still think addiction is a choice. There's no way in hell it's a choice. No one wakes up and says this is what I want to be when I grow up. It's a disease." 

Becky lost her son through an opioid overdose. His face, and the faces of his friends are on the van. 

If you or someone you know needs help, call the 24 hour hotline at: 585-310-4080.

On Friday, there will be another event to recognize the opioid epidemic. 

A service will be held at Our Mother of Sorrows Church at 5000 Mt. Read Blvd. Guest speakers include Becky Baker of SOARS, Father Bill Coffas of Mother of Sorrows and David Attridge from Gates to Recovery. 

For more information regarding this event call: 585 663 5432 or click here


      In honor of the beautiful loved ones we have lost to this horrific opiod crisis.Thank you to all who donated so generously. We shared the gift of warmth today with Trillium Health's Needle Exchange Program and House of Mercy.

In honor of the beautiful loved ones we have lost to this horrific opiod crisis.Thank you to all who donated so generously. We shared the gift of warmth today with Trillium Health's Needle Exchange Program and House of Mercy.

Surgeon General Sees Hope in Opioid Crisis Fight The nation's chief doctor says no state has come farther in fighting the opioid epidemic than New Hampshire. Oct. 5, 2018, at 4:27 p.m.

By HOLLY RAMER, Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The nation's chief doctor said Friday no place has come further in fighting the opioid epidemic than New Hampshire, a state President Donald Trump once referred to as a "drug-infested den."

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams spoke Friday at a daylong conference focused on how the opioid crisis has affected children in New Hampshire, which has one of the nation's highest rates of overdose deaths. After more than doubling in five years, there were two more fatal overdoses last year — 487 in total — than in 2016.

"I've seen hope in places like New Hampshire, that represent some of the worst statistics, but also some of the best examples of hope," he said. "Five-hundred is still a lot, but I'll tell you, compared to where you were, and the trajectory you were on, no one in this country has come as far as New Hampshire has in turning around the tide of the opioid epidemic."

Sharing stories about his brother's addiction and incarceration, Adams said stigma and ignorance are the biggest obstacles to ending the crisis, but that progress is being made in places that embrace unconventional partnerships between government and the private sector. The widespread use of overdose reversal drugs is also key, said Adams, who earlier this year issued a rare public health advisory calling on more Americans to carry naloxone.

In a room full of hundreds health professionals, most raised their hands when Adams asked how many were trained in CPR. But only a handful did so when he asked how many were carrying naloxone.

"You can't get someone in recovery if they're dead," he said.

Adams recently released what he called his version of a pamphlet former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop sent to every household in 1988. Koop's seven-page brochure was about AIDS. Adams' effort is a one-page, digital document that urges readers to talk about opioid addiction, safely store and dispose of medication, understand alternative pain medications, know that addiction is a chronic disease and be prepared with naloxone

Opioid Bill Expands Treatment Options

Opioid Bill Expands Treatment Options

The legislation calls for roughly $8 billion in federal investment over five years.

10/04/2018 01:17 pm ET

Mark Lennihan/The Associated Press A prescription bottle of Oxycodone, an opioid painkiller. In a bipartisan move, Congress is addressing the opioid epidemic by giving states more resources to reduce a national shortage of addiction treatment.

By Christine Vestal

In a rare bipartisan effort, Congress approved sprawling legislation — the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 — designed to make it easier for states to expand access to addiction treatment. President Donald Trump has promised to sign the bill.

Addiction treatment advocates say two provisions — one that would allow Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance plan for the poor, to pay for residential treatment in large facilities and another that would allow Medicare, the federal health plan for people 65 and older, to pay for methadone treatment — will substantially improve access to treatment.

The legislation, approved last month by the House and Wednesday by the Senate, also would pay for research into opioid alternatives, support greater use of non-opioid pain management and invest in new law enforcement efforts to curb illicit drugs.

Some critics say the legislation, which calls for roughly $8 billion in federal investment over five years, doesn’t go far enough given the magnitude of the drug overdose crisis.

In an epidemic that killed more than 72,000 people in 2017, the federal government should commit to spending far more money on treatment, prevention and access to the life-saving drug naloxone, advocacy groups have argued. The groups, including the Harm Reduction Coalition, recommended $100 billion more in federal spending, similar to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.

Still, treatment advocates say that Medicaid coverage of residential treatment and Medicare coverage of methadone would go a long way to boosting treatment quality and capacity, as well as people’s ability to pay.

Residential Treatment

The residential treatment provision would lift a 53-year-old ban in the federal Medicaid statute that prohibits coverage of mental health and addiction treatment services in facilities with more than 16 beds. Called the “institutions for mental disease” or IMD exclusion, the rule was intended to prevent states from using federal dollars to warehouse people with addiction and mental disorders.

At least 15 states have received federal waivers to the Medicaid rule, and another 11 are seeking similar waivers, under what is typically an arduous and lengthy regulatory process.

Congress’ opioid package is designed to make it easier for even more states to get similar approval.

“This provision alone will go a long way to improving both the quality of addiction treatment and its availability to low-income people,” said Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors.

The new provision also could save Medicaid money by avoiding the unnecessary hospitalizations that have resulted when people were unable to find and pay for care.

Chuck Ingoglia, senior vice president of public policy at the National Council for Behavioral Health, which advocates for better addiction treatment, said treatment providers are thrilled with the Medicaid provision. But, he said, his organization is disappointed that the legislation did not do more to fund community-based addiction treatment.

“People with addictions are treated in residential settings for a relatively limited amount of time,” he said. “We wanted the legislation to help build community addiction capacity as well. We absolutely need both.”

Methadone and Medicare

In another change to longstanding federal policy, the new opioid package would for the first time allow Medicare to cover methadone, one of three medications considered the gold standard for addiction treatment.

According to Mark Parrino, president of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, an estimated 25,000 patients who are now receiving daily methadone treatment are 65 or older. They would benefit from Medicare coverage when the provision takes effect in January 2020.

“The provision is likely to result in even more patients seeking methadone treatment once the word spreads.” In addition, he said, Medicare coverage would allow many patients to remain in treatment rather than drop out because of an inability to pay.

In Maryland, Kenneth Stoller, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, called the provision “a tremendous step forward.”

Maryland has been using limited state funds to pay for methadone treatment for older people who are unable to pay. Now that Medicare will pick up the costs, he said, it leaves more funding to cover other addiction services.

He said treatment providers across the country are seeing an increase in older patients.

“The aging population is especially important to treat because of the high prevalence of other chronic conditions that result not only in avoidable suffering and death, but avoidable emergency room visits and hospital admissions,” Stoller said.

“Once seniors with opioid use problems finally get the treatment they need and deserve, Medicare and the medical system

are likely to see a reduction in expenses for this high-cost population.”

Community creates 'moving' reminder of daily opioid struggle

Community creates 'moving' reminder of daily opioid struggle

Community creates 'moving' reminder of daily opioid struggle

September 12, 2018 11:39 PM

Gates to Recovery and the community are taking the fight against the opioid crisis on the road.

On Wednesday, a van was wrapped with the words "recovery is possible." 

It was also covered with the faces of people who have died from overdoses. A local support group contributed pictures to the movement. 

The van is meant to be a symbol of hope and a reminder that our fight against the epidemic is far from over. 

"Education is key.. awareness," stated Becky Baker, SOARS. "I think people still think addiction is a choice. There's no way in hell it's a choice. No one wakes up and says this is what I want to be when I grow up. It's a disease." 

Becky lost her son through an opioid overdose. His face, and the faces of his friends are on the van. 

If you or someone you know needs help, call the 24 hour hotline at: 585-310-4080.

On Friday, there will be another event to recognize the opioid epidemic. 

A service will be held at Our Mother of Sorrows Church at 5000 Mt. Read Blvd. Guest speakers include Becky Baker of SOARS, Father Bill Coffas of Mother of Sorrows and David Attridge from Gates to Recovery. 

For more information regarding this event call: 585 663 5432


State to provide $1M for detox beds in Monroe County

State to provide $1M for detox beds in Monroe County

Jonathan Westfall, program director of Find Your Path, and volunteer Kara Izzo collect used needles. Monroe County on Aug. 31 announced a @1 million state grant for 15 more detox beds. The beds will be operated by Helio Health on University Avenue.  (Photo: Patti Singer/staff photographer @PattiSingerRoc)

August 31

State to provide $1M for detox beds in Monroe County

Patti Singer, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle Published 1:27 pm E% Aug. 31, 2018

A $1 million state grant will mean 15 more detox beds in Monroe County, hopefully by the end of this year.  

The money will be used as part of an existing contract with Helio Health to expand short-term inpatient detox at 1350 University Ave.

Helio Health, formerly Syracuse Behavioral Health, will be renovating space adjacent to its current facility. The work is expected to be done by December, according to David Putney, director of Community Services for Monroe County. The department covers mental health, substance use and developmental disabilities.

The money from the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services was announced Friday by County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. Of the grant, $564,374 is for start-up costs for Helio Health's medically supervised withdrawal inpatient services. An additional $450,000 will fund operational costs. 

Helio Health already operates 25 beds, but families affected by opioid addiction have clamored in recent months for more beds. A message left for the president and chief executive officer of Helio Health, which is based in Syracuse, was not immediately returned.

In the past month, Gates to Recovery has said it would refer people unable to find a local bed to a facility in Pennsylvania, and Gates officials also toured a city building that was formerly home to a detox center.

A phone call led Gates officials to tour a building that used to be a detox center, with the hope it can once again help people recover from drugs. Patti Singer, @PattiSingerRoc

Putney said the grant for the beds at Helio Health has been in the works for some time, has been following a process and was not a response to community advocates.

“The community is eager as we are to have more access to beds close to home or at home,” Putney said. “This is not an outgrowth to what Gates to Recovery has been doing. We honor and respect what they are doing with engaging the community, finding services and establishing a path to recovery. … These (beds) had been in the works based on what we as a provider system as well as the county administration has observed for many months is that we don’t have enough beds close to home.”

The beds are for short-term stabilization and not for in-patient rehabilitation. Still, an individual’s length of stay would depend on their need, Putney said. Detox also can be done on an out-patient basis. Once a person is stabilized, they can be referred to other services.

In March, the general counsel for OASAS said the agency was having discussions with Helio about increasing its number of beds. That same month, the agency loosened a regulation governing hospital detox beds. UR Medicine and Rochester Regional Health offer in-patient detox to people admitted for other medical needs, according to recent statements from each system.

Through July, 103 people in Monroe County died this year from a suspected opioid overdose, according to unofficial data collected by law enforcement data. In July, 18 people died from a suspected overdose. The Office of the Monroe County Medical Examiner compiles official statistics, but that data can take months to be released. According to the medical examiner, 220 people died of an overdose in 2017.

The $1 million for the detox beds comes a few days after the county announced it was getting $2.4 million on opioid and mental health services.  The money will be used to expand the Rochester Drug Court, to do outreach to expand connections to long-term treatment and recovery options, and to start a new mental health jail diversion drop-off center.

Rochester drug court amid opioid crisis: "It's overwhelming"

Rochester drug court amid opioid crisis: "It's overwhelming"

Rochester drug court amid opioid crisis: "It's overwhelming"

by Jane Flasch 

Wednesday, August 22nd 2018

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - "All rise. Court is in session."

While presiding over drug court, Jack Elliott has heard it all. "I claim to be the most lied-to person in Monroe County," he said. "Oddly, even though I tell people not to use drugs, they still do."

Over the years, the former public defender and Rochester City Court Judge has heard it all - even when it comes to heroin.

Until now.

"It's the scary stuff that's coming in now: fentanyl. People are dying left and right," Elliot told 13 WHAM's Jane Flasch.

When Rochester's drug court diversion program opened 23 years ago, there were only five other similar programs in the country and none in New York State. This court has long dealt with addictive drugs but seldom with drugs as deadly as what is being consumed in this opioid epidemic.

The harshest drugs laced with fentanyl hit the streets in batches.

"They hear people are dying from it and they think, 'This must be the good stuff.' It's scary that people see this but still use," said Elliott.

It is not unusual to see people in this court fall into a relapse. But this drug continues to pull back many who have so much promise and have worked so hard to overcome its grip. Elliott remembered one case that led to a bad two weeks.

"I saw her Thursday and she was doing great - had been clean for 90 days," Elliot said. "The next day she was dead. It was five people within two weeks - dead."

When asked whether it ever gets to be too much, Judge Elliott responded, "Yes. It's a difficult job."

Elliot explained that when someone fails to show up to court, often indicating a relapse, he issues a bench warrant.

"It's a very dangerous time for someone trying to get clean. They're probably out there actively using. Their body is no longer used to that," Elliot said.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office now gives warrants from drug court special attention.

"I've had someone within 24 hours back in my court. It gets them safely off the street and safely back to me," said Elliott.

Drug court is for people with a significant criminal history who also have a significant addiction. Estimates are that eight of every ten defendants are addicted to opioids.

In dealing with the magnitude of this crisis, Judge Elliott remembers one thing.

"I can only deal with the person in front of me. So although we do change the world we change it one person at a time," he said. "That's what I focus on."

Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana to be available as substitute to prescribed opioids

Joseph Spector and Jon Campbell, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle June 18, 2018

ALBANY — New York will make those who have been prescribed opioids eligible for medical marijuana in a move to try to limit drug abuse.

State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said Monday the Health Department will expand the use of medical marijuana to be available as a substitute for an opioid prescription.

The goal, he said, would be to help reduce the number of patients who become addicted to opioids — such as OxyContin and Vicodin — after being prescribed them by a doctor for an ailment.

“What we are doing today is that we are finalizing regulations to include prescription opioids in our medical marijuana program under the Compassionate Care Act," Zucker told reporters in Brooklyn.

"So we are moving forward on that, and we will do it for prescription opioids starting now.

The announcement is the latest step by the state Health Department to expand the availability of medical marijuana in non-smokeable forms after it was legalized in 2016.

The program initially struggled with low participation and limited availability.

The state has added chronic pain, for example, to the eligible conditions and expanded who can get licensed to prescribe medical marijuana to include nurse practitioners and physician assistants. 

The latest move, Zucker said, is to offer an alternative to opioid prescriptions.

“So that means if an individual is taking prescription opioids, they could take medical marijuana as part of the program that we are pushing forward to hopefully come off prescription opioids as well," Zucker continued.

The number of opioid deaths in New York skyrocketed 135 percent between 2013 and 2016, an investigation this month by the USA Today Network's Albany Bureau found.

Zucker said the state continues to look at ways to bolster its medical marijuana program.

New York has 1,688 registered practitioners who can prescribe medical marijuana and nearly 59,000 patients who are certified to buy it at one of 20 dispensaries around New York

“We’ve grown the program over the course of time," Zucker said.

"We feel this is another way to move the program forward, particularly because there are individuals who are in chronic pain … We feel adding individuals who are on prescription opioids and having them part of the medical marijuana program will help them."

Marijuana advocates praised the health department's announcement.

“Clearly marijuana alone will not be the answer to New York’s problem with opioid misuse and overdose deaths, but available evidence indicates that it should be used with other harm reduction strategies" to address the issue, said Melissa Moore, New York's deputy director for the Drug Policy Alliance.



By Laura Hilgers - May 19, 2018

Ms. Hilgers (@Lhilgers)has written about having a child with an addiction and is a  is a freelance journalist

Two years ago, I spent a week in Houston helping my stepbrother while he underwent treatment for Stage 4 lymphoma at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. I sat with him while a nurse cleaned his chemo port and made records of her work, to keep his medical team updated. I accompanied him for the blood tests that determined his readiness for the next treatment. I stayed by his bed as his stem cells were harvested for a transplant, one of the cutting-edge, evidence-based therapies that ultimately saved his life.

Around the same time, I was helping my 22-year-old daughter, who struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. The contrast between the two experiences was stark. While my stepbrother received a doctor’s diagnosis, underwent a clearly defined treatment protocol and had his expenses covered by insurance, there was no road map for my daughter. She had gone undiagnosed for several years, despite my reaching out to her health care providers, who either minimized my concerns or weren’t sure what to do.

I had to hire an expensive interventionist — a professional who helps families find appropriate care and runs interventions — to find names of treatment centers. I spent weeks calling programs, asking questions and waiting to learn what insurance would cover. Finally, after my daughter agreed to treatment and we paid all costs up front, I sent her to a 45-day Arizona inpatient program, praying it would work.

Addiction, like cancer, is a complex disease that requires a multipronged approach. It also affects 1.5 times as many people as those with all cancers combined, and it was pivotal in causing some 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016 alone. It makes no sense that what is fast becoming our greatest health care crisis is still dealt with mostly outside the mainstream medical system.

According to a 2016 surgeon general’s report, 10 percent of the 21 million Americans with substance-use disorders will receive treatment. This is in part because there are no national standards of care for treating addiction, and the $35 billion rehab industry is regulated piecemeal, state by state. While many treatment programs offer excellent care, others are motivated by profit and engage in practices such as patient brokering (in which hefty sums are paid to those who refer an addict to a program) and charging insurers exorbitant fees.

On average, medical schools in the United States devote 12 hours to substance abuse, and little of that on diagnosing or treating the condition. Many doctors also struggle to get reimbursed for providing this care.

Addiction treatment has a long, fraught history. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, when addiction was, for the most part, considered a moral failing, people sought cures in asylums and “inebriate homes.” They also relied on doctors, who sometimes prescribed opiates to help morphine addicts slowly withdraw.

But with the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914, and several Supreme Court decisions, the government began to prosecute these doctors. William L. White’s book “Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America” reports that more than 25,000 physicians were indicted between 1914 and 1938. Some 3,000 were jailed. “The practical effect of such enforcement,” wrote Mr. White, “was that physicians stopped treating addicted patients.”

Our understanding of addiction is different now. The surgeon general’s report defines it as a “chronic neurological disorder” and outlines evidence-based treatments. These include drugs like methadone and buprenorphine; individual and group counseling; step-down services after residential treatment; mutual aid groups like Alcoholics Anonymous; and long-term, coordinated care that includes recovery coaches.

Unfortunately, much of this knowledge isn’t being applied in doctors’ offices or even many treatment centers. “There’s a wealth of literature collected over many decades, along with a robust medical evidence base, showing what works and what doesn’t,” Dr. Anna Lembke, chief of the Stanford University Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, told me. “Treatment for addiction works, on par with treatment for other chronic relapsing disorders. So, it’s not really that there’s no road map. It’s that the road map has not been recognized or embraced by the house of medicine.”

Dr. Lembke would like for a person afflicted with addiction to be able to arrive in an emergency room or a doctor’s office and find a protocol in place for immediate treatment, just as my stepbrother experienced with lymphoma. “That’s what we don’t have,” she said. “We have very high-end, and very expensive care, which is good care for those who can afford it, and then we have everybody else pretty much, for whom there’s limited care.”

Efforts are underway to create this much-needed change. The advocacy group Facing Addiction, along with the health care consulting firm Leavitt Partners, has assembled a team of experts and industry leaders to promote care models that help patients achieve long-term recovery and reward providers based on how well patients hit “recovery-linked performance measures.”

Another organization, Shatterproof, is working with 16 health insurers, which collectively cover 248 million people, to adopt national principles of care, including universal screening, access to medications and continuing long-term outpatient care. Gary Mendell, Shatterproof’s chief executive, believes that once private insurers recognize these standards and create financial incentives to meet them, the rest of the health care system will follow. It would be good if that included Medicaid and Medicare, which cover 69 percent of Americans’ addiction treatment.

The staggering economics of the opioid epidemic may be what forces our system to change. According to the nonprofit group FAIR Health, which draws on data from more than 21 billion privately billed health care claims, “Professional charges and allowed amounts for services for patients diagnosed with opioid abuse or dependence rose more than 1,000 percent from 2011 to 2015.” This increase, partly the result of addiction treatment coverage mandated by the Affordable Care Act, may spur health care systems to create their own treatment centers.

Cost-effective health care providers like Kaiser Permanente and the Department of Veterans Affairs have been doing this for years, and at least one other major provider, Massachusetts General Hospital, recently integrated substance-use disorder care into its system. Another bright spot is the federal prison system, which offers a residential drug abuse program, typically lasting nine months, in 76 locations.

There is a risk, of course, in urging the very medical system that helped create the opioid epidemic to treat it. “What we don’t want to do is go from OxyContin pill mills to buprenorphine pill mills,” Dr. Lembke said. “I think the way to try to avoid that difficulty or disastrous unintended consequence is to really carefully and judiciously prescribe.”

It’s a risk we may have to take. Evidence-based research should not be perishing in peer-reviewed journals while people are dying or struggling to find effective care. The millions of people still suffering from addiction, and those in recovery, deserve the same level of gold-standard care that saved my stepbrother and my daughter, both of whom are now in remission.


Is Rochester on the verge of a new detox center?

Is Rochester on the verge of a new detox center?

Is Rochester on the verge of a new detox center?

Patti Singer, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle Published 12:44 p.m. ET Aug. 21, 2018 | Updated 5:04 p.m. ET Aug. 21, 2018

A phone call led Gates officials to tour a building that used to be a detox center, with the hope it can once again help people recover from drugs. Patti Singer, @PattiSingerRoc

(Photo: Patti Singer Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)

On a day that started at the scene of another fatal overdose in his town, Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode spent some of his Monday afternoon looking for a way to help other families.

VanBrederode, Gates Supervisor Mark Assini and representatives of Gates to Recovery toured a city building that formerly housed a drug rehabilitation center to see whether it could serve that purpose once more.

“We’re trying to be part of the solution,” VanBrederode said in the front living room of 81 Barberry Terrace in north Rochester. “I don’t know if this is a viable option or not.” 

The brick building is owned by Pentecostal Miracle Deliverance Center Church on Portland Avenue and is part of its campus. According to a spokesman, the church contacted Gates to Recovery to offer the structure to an as-yet-undetermined treatment provider.

“We have some people who are dying from overdoses and they need some help,” said church member Ronald Wright. “They need a place to get that help. That’s all the church wants to do.”

Families and their advocates have been saying that in the midst of the opioid crisis, the Rochester area lacks inpatient beds for medically supervised drug withdrawal and stabilization — commonly called detox. 

In New York, detox services have to be certified by the Office for Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. Even if an existing provider wants to take on a site that can quickly be made ready, the process still can take a few months, according to a statement from OASAS.

The Finger Lakes region has five medical supervised withdrawal and stabilization programs with a total capacity to treat 56 people, according to the state. Through July, 103 people have died from suspected overdoses, according to data compiled by law enforcement. Police agencies reported 675 overdoses.

Why Gates officials came to city

Assini and VanBrederode looked like prospective homebuyers as they poked their heads around doors, walked into rooms and checked closet space.

Gates had 25 overdoses through July, according to law enforcement data. Only two were fatal, according to a map from the Monroe County Heroin Task Force. Assini and VanBrederode have been outspoken about the need for more services, and they support the nonprofit Recovery Now NY’s Gates to Recovery support services.

“I either sit and keep writing police reports for the dead bodies or I somehow use my influence as police chief to get the ball rolling,” VanBrederode said. “I guess I’m just a frustrated police chief who went to another death scene for another overdose.”

Asked whether it was in his job description to come to the city to find a detox center, Assini said, “Part of the job description of supervisor includes a lot of things, but saving lives is part of it. When it comes to saving lives, I think it’s everybody’s business.”

Assini said he has been told people providing detox services are at full capacity and there are no local beds available.

“We don’t take that at people’s words,” he said. “We found that there is available space, a former facility that did just what we’re looking for.”

What it takes to get a detox site

The church building is one of two that Gates to Recovery has been offered in the past few weeks. It received an email from a person saying he had a vacant adult-care facility in Shortsville, Ontario County.

David Attridge, executive director of Gates to Recovery, said his organization does not do medically supervised detox but it can help those providers find suitable locations.

“Not that we’re experts in any way, but this is something we can take back and say, ‘This is available right now,’” he said. “We need these beds. Why not?”

County and city records have the building address as 77 Barberry Terrace. According to county records, the nearly 10,000-square-foot structure is categorized for commercial use as a health facility. City records show the address has 11 code violations and is in tax foreclosure. Records do not list any tax exemptions.

Attridge said that the building had been used for many years as a detox center.

Wright, a member of the church, said it’s now used by the ministry to help people who are homeless. Most of the building is vacant, and it appeared on the walk-through that some repairs were being made. Wright said no details about the building have been discussed with any potential providers. “Right now, we’re just looking at collaborating. The building is available.”

VanBrederode and Assini said they planned to share information about the building with local treatment providers and with OASAS. According to a statement from OASAS, the organization is working on “setting up a meeting in the near future to work with the community, but no meeting has been confirmed at this time.”

The OASAS standards for medically supervised detox are laid out in a 40-page document. The process for approving new beds includes a review of the provider seeking a license and an assessment of the need in the community where a facility is proposed.

Photojournalism project shines new light on addiction

Photojournalism project shines new light on addiction

By Andrew Freeman  |  August 25, 2018 @1:48 PM

A photojournalism exhibit opening on Monroe Avenue next month is shining a new light on addiction and recovery.

Cassandra Rivera has been clean of heroine for six years now.

“Prenatal with my twin," Rivera said. "My whole family has addiction running through their veins.”

Jeff Williams has been clean of cocaine and alcohol for four years.

“It’s pretty incredible each day how much of a struggle it’s been, and each day how gratifying it is to be where I am now.” Williams said.

Both are subjects in Chasing Nirvana Clean, a photojournalism series on addiction and recovery.

“There’s different colors. Old, young, new in recovery, old in recovery," Rivera said. "And it’s truly amazing to have someone finally captivate it in the six years I’ve been in recovery.”

Simone Ochrym started the project after losing her own son to addiction in 2016.

“When you have a child struggling with addiction, it’s a fight to the last breath. But when you come through the other side, it’s a fight to help others," Ochrym said. "I don’t want any parent going through what my husband and I had to go through, or a family. And I want to give people hope.”

It premieres at the Flower City Art Center on Monroe Avenue next month.

“What I’m looking for is the how and why people enter recovery, and stay in recovery for the long-term.” Ochrym said.

Simone wants the project to not just educate about recovery, but also break the stigma surrounding addiction.

“These are very valuable people in our community, and we should embrace them," Ochrym said. "Even though they’re struggling with addiction, it’s time for us to start rebranding them and saying they have a chronic disease, and bring them into recovery.”

It's a hope the participants share.

“My hope for Simone and myself is more people come out because of this and want to share their story so we can break down the stigma and share that these are everyday people, these are community members, they are assets, like Simone was saying, to the community.” Williams said.

The project will be open to the public September 7 through October 20.