WILMINGTON — Substance abuse across the United States has dramatically increased during the pandemic, and Lotus Recovery Centers is opening a dual-purpose addiction treatment and outpatient crisis center in an area with some of the greatest need.
“Anytime we go to a site, we look at the available public health data, we form kind of a heat map, and there was definitely a very obvious visual gap (in Wilmington), where there was a need for additional services,” said Ryan Collison, CEO of Lotus Recovery Centers, during a grand opening Friday for the state’s newest facility, at 1812 Newport Gap Pike in Wilmington.
Overdose deaths across the state increased by 17% in the last year, said a news release from Lotus.
In response, the latest Lotus center will provide medication-assisted treatment, intensive outpatient care and 23-hour crisis assistance, for which Mr. Collison said the community voiced an extreme need. All insurance providers, including Medicare, will be accepted at the facility in an effort to help the greatest number of people.
Even patients that arrive with no insurance will be cared for. Lotus’ Director of Business Development Chris Peters said the center is funded by the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.
“So essentially, they’ll pay us for services that are happening, and then, we’re going to start the process of getting (the patient) signed up for Medicaid,” Mr. Peters said.
The grand opening Friday was a community event, which Director of Operations Franshawn Ricketts emphasized was important in starting off a good relationship with the center’s neighbors.
“The grand opening is a warm gesture to our community because a lot of times, in my experience, we land in the backyards of communities and neighborhoods and just set up shop and start business,” Ms. Ricketts said. “So this was our way of inviting our community in to learn about our resources, to give them our promise and to let them know that all we want is good things in their neighborhoods.”
Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long and New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to show their support for expanding treatment centers across Delaware.
“COVID-19 showed us the need for equity and true wraparound mental health services,” Lt. Gov. Hall-Long said.
Mr. Meyer said that in the first five-and-a-half months of 2021, first responders have administered the opioid-overdose antidote naloxone to 683 patients in New Castle County. Fifty doses have been administered in the last two weeks alone.
“There’s such a shortage of treatment facilities and treatment opportunities right here in Delaware,” Mr. Meyer said. “We are here to support those brave women and men who come through this facility to try to do one of the hardest things that anybody ever does, and that is recover from a disease. It takes a team effort.”
The facility includes exam rooms for primary care services and a crisis treatment room with around-the-clock observation. Patients arriving for appointments will use a kiosk check-in system and can view their status on screens in the waiting room.
And it won’t be long before Lotus grows statewide.
“The budget is really good for expansion,” said Chief Financial Officer Chris Eader, adding that the next site is already under construction on Governors Avenue in Dover.
The Wilmington Lotus Recovery Center officially opens for business July 12.