Local recovery program faces possible closure amid opioid epidemic

March 25, 2019 08:48 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- At a time when the Rochester community is battling an opioid epidemic, a program which has provided addiction and mental health services for thousands of people could end. 

The federal pilot program that created Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics is scheduled to lose funding as of July 1, 2019.


U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer was in town Monday vowing to fight to keep the program funded. Just to put the need for these services in perspective, Schumer said between 2017-2018, Monroe County saw 1,900 opioid overdoses with 386 of those ending in death. 

"I happened to be one of a very small percentage of people who make it to where I am today," said Kelly Quinn.

To see and hear Quinn speak, it is hard to believe this poised young woman was once homeless, living on the streets of Rochester addicted to opioids.

"I am not very different from any other person who comes into our clinic as a patient now. I grew up an average American young girl. As you would expect, parents had nice jobs, I went to a nice high school in the suburbs and my disease still found me and caught up to me," said Quinn.

Quinn has now been clean since November of 2015.

It wasn't an easy fight. She sought treatment 19 times but she said there was always a missing link.

"I firmly believe, as I stand here now over my experience, that treatment happens in our clinics but recovery takes place in our community and it's very important for us to be able to bridge that gap," added Quinn.

Now, as a member of the advocacy team at Strong Recovery, a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, Quinn has become the missing link, helping others to stay on course. 

In two years, 6,200 people have received treatment through Strong Recovery but come July 1, it may close.

Schumer vows to fight for renewal.

"So, I am pleading with my colleagues in congress. I'll be lobbying them, cajoling them and using whatever clout I have to pass the renewal of funding for this and other clinics that do great work," said Schumer. 

For people like Quinn and Matthew Champion, who is two and a half years clean, it could be a matter of life and death.

"Let's hope that someone doesn't have to go through this and the availability not there...because this place...for those who are willing...when I was willing this place was a Godsend," Champion, client.

Schumer says a bill has already been introduced in Congress to extend the funding and he says it has bi-partisan support.

News10NBC will keep you posted.


Lynette Adams

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