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New alcohol, drug addiction treatment center opens in International Park - Hoover Sun

A new alcohol and drug outpatient treatment center will open its doors for business Wednesday in Hoover.

The Birmingham Recovery Center is in a 7,500-square-foot building in the International Park office complex off Acton Road that formerly was home to Noah’s Event Venue. A ribbon-cutting was held Tuesday morning.

It is not a detox or residential facility but will offer a “partial hospitalization” program (essentially an all-day program) as well as different levels of outpatient services and support for family members of people with addictions, said Ian Henyon, the center’s executive director.

The primary service is group counseling, but each client also will get at least one one-hour individual counseling session each week and have drug tests at least twice a week, Henyon said.

The center has five clinical staff, three directors (all of whom are in long-term addiction recovery) and three behavioral health technicians. There also is a medical team of two doctors and a registered nurse who will conduct medical and psychiatric evaluations.

Both doctors are certified in addictionology and psychiatry and are able to prescribe pretty much whatever medication clients may need, except methadone, Henyon said.

The center is the brainchild of Colin Harris, the managing director, and John Giannetto, the director of business development, both of whom are in long-term recovery from heroin addiction.

Harris, who is originally from Montgomery, said there is an incredible need for addiction recovery programs in Alabama. At times, he had to go out of state to get treatment, he said.

He went through treatment programs 30 times and has seen both good ones and bad ones and wants to provide high-quality treatment for people in Alabama, he said.

There are at least 24 similar outpatient facilities in metro Atlanta but, until now, only one in Alabama that is not state-funded or funded through Medicaid or Medicare, Harris said. That’s a treatment facility run by Bradford Health Services, he said.

This will be another option for people in the Birmingham metropolitan area, he said.

The need for alcohol and drug addiction recovery programs is especially great right now because substance abuse and overdoses have risen dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, Harris said.

Drug overdose deaths in Alabama increased 31% from 2019 to 2020, and Jefferson County alone saw a record 302 drug overdose deaths in 2020, according to the Birmingham Recovery Center.

“We have a wonderful recovery community in our area that has been combatting this, and we are going to stand and fight that same battle,” Harris said. “We have spent the past year recruiting and creating a clinical team and putting together what we consider to be a gold-standard program.”

Harris’ parents, Thomas and Cindy Harris, are the primary financial backers of the center.

Alabama Mental Health Commissioner Kimberly Boswell was present for Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting and said it is a celebration anytime people can have access to additional care.

“It is just such a great opportunity to address such a critical issue in our community,” Boswell said. “Overdoses continue to happen. We are losing lots of lots of people to addiction. Honestly, to me, that’s just unacceptable.”

She thanked the founders of the Birmingham Recovery Center for their courage, passion and commitment to figure out a way to provide people more support.

“Treatment works. Recovery happens, and what you’re about to experience is going to be phenomenal,” Boswell said. “You’re going to get to see lives transformed and what I call walking miracles.”

People struggling with drug addiction can call the ROSS Recovery Center at 844-307-1760 to talk to people who already have been through treatment and recovery programs, Boswell said.

For more information about the Birmingham Recovery Center, go to birminghamrecoverycenter.com.

Also, read more about the Birmingham Recovery Center in a future print edition of the Hoover Sun.

Editor's note: This article was updated at 4:56 p.m. to correct some information regarding similar outpatient treatment facilities in Alabama.