State officials and addiction specialists broke ground Friday for a 25-bed substance abuse treatment facility for young adults at the Outreach center in Brentwood.
Officials with Outreach, which already operates a 44-bed adolescent facility and a 25-bed women’s facility off Crooked Hill Road in Brentwood, said the new residence hall will also help its clients — men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 — finish school or find work after overcoming their addiction to alcohol or drugs.
“Unfortunately, residential beds are very limited on Long Island and we have a lot of young adults that struggle with the abuse of drugs,” Outreach president Debra Pantin said. “The ability to really get to have a facility in town, on the Island that they can access, . . . is really important to the community.”
Outreach also operates a men’s treatment facility at the state-run Pilgrim Psychiatric Center in Brentwood.
Officials hope the new 14,400-square-foot young adult residence hall will be completed next summer to cater to a demographic that previously didn’t fit in either the adult halls or with teens. It will also include a dining hall, kitchen, recreation area, classroom and counseling areas, and access to computers.
Pantin said the treatment center has been limited during the COVID-19 pandemic while addiction in the community has been exacerbated amid a reliance on drugs and alcohol.
“This program is another step in our quest to assist individuals to recovery,” she said. “Today marks a new milestone for youth battling addiction on Long Island. We are proud to offer a safe alternative to life on the streets.”
An Outreach client, identified only as Denys, 19, said his family fled from gangs like MS-13 in El Salvador and arrived in Brentwood when he was 11. He said he enjoyed going to school but got into fights and still feared gang members. He said he eventually fell into the wrong crowd and started using drugs and alcohol, which eventually led to using harder drugs.
“I’ve had a lot of violence in my life that I wish I hadn't experienced,” he said. “My addiction became a lifestyle and I became selfish and only cared about me. It was a terrible place to be. … I'm enjoying sobriety. ... I’m learning to be better and not only share my story but look to the future. It makes me hope there are others like me.”