Nassau County law enforcement and hospital officials showed off a new drug treatment center in Garden City on Thursday, a facility designed to help both patients and their families overcome the scourge of drug addiction.
The Northwell Health Garden City Treatment Center on Stewart Avenue, which opened in July, replaced a smaller, aging Mineola facility.
The one-story complex is three times the size of its Mineola predecessor and can care for far more patients. The smaller center was operating well over its 250-patient capacity when it closed.
More than 40 years old, the center has seen its patient visits steadily increase by about 40 percent annually for the past four years, said Heather Hugelmeyer, the new treatment facility’s program director.
“It’s a combination of severity and the fact that more people are willing to reach out for help,” Hugelmeyer said.
The Garden City center still treats about 250 patients at a time and averages about 1,700 visits a month, she said.
The new space allows staff to have their own offices to help them meet privately with patients and their families, officials said.
At the Mineola center, physicians gave patients their medication in meeting rooms. The new center includes modern exam rooms where doctors can treat patients and hand out medication in a more traditional setting. There is more also additional space for meetings.
The for-profit clinic accepts all patients and offers a pay scale for those who are struggling financially, Hugelmeyer said.
“We’re looking at it as being more of a health issue and having a facility like this, which is like a physician’s office, helps to really create that for the patients,” Hugelmeyer said
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, who attended the ceremony, said drug dealers are being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. She praised the treatment center as a necessary step to combat drug addiction, adding that it gives hope to her and potential patients of the treatment center.
“People want to beat their addictions and they can’t do it alone,” Singas said. “It takes a lot of effort and it takes a lot of professional guidance.”