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Plans for large Calverton drug addiction treatment center move ahead

A large new drug addiction treatment center, designed to support research into alcohol and drug abuse, has received approval from Riverhead's Zoning Board of Appeals and its developers expect to file a site plan in six to eight months.

The 97,000-square-foot facility would be built on 34 acres in the southwest corner of Enterprise Park at Calverton. It would have about 120 beds for addicts who would be the subject of research studies, with 80 beds used for primary care for the first 30 days of admission, and the rest divided for extended care and study among several groups, including young adults, people holding professional licenses and the public.

Final numbers cannot be set until state licenses are obtained, which will take several more months, officials said. Applications for state licensing began after the project received ZBA approval earlier this month, according to Andrew Drazan, the CEO and founder of the facility, Calverton Addiction Research Education: New York.

"The plan is to have a one-of-a-kind facility . . . research-driven to treat addiction as a brain disease," he said. "We'll determine the best course of treatment of an individual based on their brain chemistry, dopamine levels and . . . other testing."

Drazan said about two-thirds of the facility would be dedicated to research and patients who are admitted would stay up to 120 days, although he added that -- like most other addiction treatment facilities -- many of the patients may drop out of the program.

It will take six to eight months before a final site plan is given to Riverhead officials, and construction is expected to take two years. The cost is projected at $15 million to $25 million, and the New York State Economic Development Council has given a $1 million grant toward the project.

Riverhead is still completing its environmental review of most of the Enterprise Park property, but this would go on the area already sold to a developer.

"It's isolated. It's quite beautiful," Drazan said. "We wanted a serene location for this type of therapy. We want it quiet so the residents can heal."

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