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Ithaca detox center to open in one year -- hopefully

Bret Jaspers

A detox center slated for Ithaca still has a few steps to go before it opens. Tompkins County has a significant need for this kind of help for drug addicts.

When people in Tompkins County need help with withdrawal symptoms, they have to go elsewhere.

They often go to Syracuse or Binghamton. In 2015, 220 people left the county for detox help.

But leaving the county isn’t necessarily what a patient wants, according to Angela Sullivan of the Alcohol and Drug Council of Tompkins County.

"The need is absolutely there. And people need access to the health care that they qualify for," she said.

Sullivan’s agency currently does outpatient and medication-assisted treatments. It recently won a $500,000 grant to open a residential detox center. It’ll have 20 to 24 beds, although the most serious cases will still have to go to the hospital.

"We’ll be able to determine whether that person can stay in our level of care, or whether they would go to a hospital to get medically stabilized first," she said.

The center has a few big steps remaining before it can open. The council hopes to open the detox center in about a year. At the moment, Sullivan is doing more fundraising and looking at spaces.

But people suffering from addiction can always visit the Alcohol and Drug Council.

"I would say, don’t wait for us to open the doors of detox and stabilization to make a call or come into our offices," Sullivan said.