Recovering Users Will Help Others At Treatment Center

March 7, 2019

WILKES-BARRE — A drug treatment center in which former users help other people with substance abuse disorders is coming to Wilkes-Barre.

The New Roots recovery support center will open in April at 121 Water St. in the city.

At the center, drug users in recovery get help from certified recovery specialists, who themselves are recovering from abusing drugs or alcohol and have also taken training and been certified by the state. The recovery specialists work with case managers to help people struggling with substance abuse.

The method is already used in treatment, but New Roots will be the first center to focus on it in the county, organizers said.

“They will be providing services to people with substance use disorders to help get in recovery and help maintain it through whatever is needed,” said co-founder Sarah Helcoski. “People who need somewhere to go for the next step in recovery can come there and get next their next direction. We support them if we can, or if not, we let them know where they can go.”

The center will include a computer lab, food pantry and other resources.

Each county in the state is designated to have one recovery support center, said co-founder Kristen Topolski.

“Even if someone is not meeting with a peer, they can go there to use the computer lab, get coffee or a healthy meal. Whatever is going on at the center, people are welcome to come and use the services even if they’re not with their peer worked at that moment,” she said.

The Northeast Behavioral Health Care Consortium, a nonprofit group, and the Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, a health insurance company, will fund the center with $500,000 through the end of the grant period. Topolski and Helcoski believed that was June 2020.

The center will open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the weekend, but organizers said hours could change based on need.

“I think the biggest thing I have learned through this experience is that there is not a soul I have met who hasn’t been affected by someone, be it themselves or family or very close friends, with a substance use disorder, or who has been affected by it in a negative way,” said Helcoski. “The amount of community support is outstanding. It’s a beautiful thing to see people coming together, telling stories and supporting each other. I know it’s a tough situation, but there are a lot of people out there who want to help and want to see changes happen.

Contact the writer: bwellock@citizensvoice.com 570-821-2051, @CVBillW