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Garnar Names Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare as Drug Treatment Provider

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Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare has been selected to provide drug treatment services at the former Broome Developmental Center beginning in early 2018. Broome County Executive Jason Garnar says the facility will provide withdrawal, stabilization, and rehabilitation services that are not currently available to the area.

"To be able to provide the gaps that we currently have here at no taxpayer expense is nothing short of amazing, it's a big win for everyone in Broome County and this entire community," said Garnar.

"This is going to be a place where people can go when they are ready or when they are wanting or someone else is wanting it for them to get access to treatment," said Jeremy Klemanski, Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare CEO.

"It's a big announcement in terms of helping those who are suffering from addiction and it's an announcement that people in this community want to hear because they're tired of sending their loved ones to Rochester, to Buffalo," said State Senator Fred Akshar.

The project received $3,000,000 in state funding and won't cost anything in taxpayer money. County officials say they will also be able to create 70 jobs.

The former Broome Developmental Center closed in March of last year and has since been the center of a debate over what to do with the space. Klemanski says the county is fortunate that the state was so willing to let them turn the mostly vacant building into a drug rehab center.

"It's tremendous that the state said 'hey we got this asset, let's repurposed it, let's get creative with it, let's get to work on solving this problem, and let's be entrepreneurial about it'," said Klemanski.

"This wasn't a Republican or a Democrat issue, this was about the community and the only way that something like this happens at the pace it has happened is to work in a bipartisan fashion," said Akshar.

Akshar says the speed at which this entire project was put together was only possible because everyone was on the same page.

"Repurposing a building that is owned by the State that is not vacant is very difficult to do, securing $3 million out of a budget that is not endless is very difficult to do," said Akshar.

The treatment services will include up to 50 medically supervised withdrawal and stabilization beds and up to 50 residential rehabilitation beds.

Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare (SBH) was among the providers who responded to a Request for Proposals issued by the county for services at the Drug Developmental Center. Officials say SBH offers a "complete continuum of care for people in recovery that includes Inpatient Rehabilitation and Detoxification, Integrated Outpatient, Opioid Treatment Programs, Children and Adolescent Clinics, Community Residences, and Supportive Living through a 24/7 Open Access Center."

The agency was founded in 1920, employs over 350 people, and has served over 5,500 individuals including Broome County residents. Garnar's office says there are around 200 Broome County residents that currently travel outside of the area to receive drug treatment services. They currently have facilities in Syracuse and Rochester and provide care to Cortland, Onondaga, Madison, Cayuga, Oneida, Monroe, and Oswego counties.

SBH is in the process of working with the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) to finalize the application and develop a budget. All New York State funds will have to be approved by the Broome County Legislature.

In a statement, Broome County Legislature Chairman Daniel J. Reynolds acknowledged that "opioid abuse is a problem impact individuals and families in our area," but adds that there have been some miscommunication between the Legislature and Garnar.

"To date, the Legislature has not received a formal request for consideration from the County Administration to award a contract with a particular provider for new substance abuse services at the former Broome Developmental Center," said Reynolds.

He says that the Legislature raised questions and requested information related to the RFP process but never heard back. 

"In the coming month, the Legislature looks forward to engaging the medical community, local substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation providers, law enforcement, families and advocates of those impacted by the drug epidemic, local officials and the public at large," said Reynolds.

You can read his letters to Garnar below: