Gates, N.Y. - Monday morning, 6 a.m.: Police are called to a home for the fatal overdose of a 46-year-old man. It's how the week began for Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode.
"This is a crisis. It's not going to go away. So as a leader, you have to do something to fix this," he told 13WHAM's Jane Flasch.
On this same Monday, David Attridge struggled to find treatment beds for four addicts ready to get clean. "It's hard right now to keep them in that mode - that, 'Okay I'm ready,' because the drugs keep calling and calling," he said.
So this counselor, police chief and town supervisor are matchmaking. They're seeking out empty space with potential and laying it at the feet of New York State and those who run addiction programs locally. On Monday, they toured a bricked building on Barberry Terrace in the City of Rochester that has long been used as a licensed medical facility. Pentecostal Miracle Deliverance Center Church owns the building and wants to return it to its roots.
To combat the opioid crisis, the state agency Oasis, which approves and oversees detox programs, has given hospitals a waiver to turn unused beds into detox and treatment space rather than forcing communities to wait for new facilities to be built or opened. "Gates to Recovery" wants this same waver for the building on Barberry Terrace and perhaps another facility licensed for adult care in Shortsville, Ontario County. They will pitch the plan to officials from Oasis who will be in Rochester later this week.
The Shortsville facility has space for 23 beds. The Rochester facility is already certified by the city for 26 beds but would need state approval. "We're in the middle of a war right now. We need a M.A.S.H. (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) Unit set up. Not to wait 18 months for a new building," said Chief VanBrederode. "Do you know how many people are going to die in Monroe County in the next 18 months?"
More than 800 people have died of opioid overdoses in Monroe County in the last four years