Sunday, June 26, 2022

Detox center The Harbor to reopen after being closed a year

The Harbor will reopen in Wilmington, as soon as a new location is found. (Courtesy photo)

WILMINGTON — Under- and uninsured patients in need of substance-use and mental health treatment will have an option once again in The Harbor — a state-run detox and crisis-based facility that served patients for over a decade in Wilmington.

Annually, The Harbor served 1,800 people, according to Cindy Ehlers, chief strategy and innovation officer for Trillium Health Resources. The organization specializes in care management across 28 counties in southeastern North Carolina to help people facing serious substance use, mental illness, and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

READ MORE: ‘Save the Harbor’ group holding weekend events, petition reaches 16,000 signatures [Free]

The Harbor opened in 2010 and closed last year. Originally located at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, its lease was up after being extended a year and a half. Officials failed to find a new location, and since the former building has been razed.

Trillium Health Resources and RHA Health Services are teaming up to re-open the much-needed resource. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human services, 411 people in New Hanover died of unintentional overdose between 2016 and 2020, with 97 taking place in 2020 alone.

The Harbor hires trained staff specifically adept at handling withdrawal and behavioral health matters. It will have 16 beds for detox, available for Medicaid patients or the uninsured.

The new location will be operated by Asheville-based RHA Behavior Help, as it was formerly. It will fill 16 to 20 positions, including certified substance abuse counselors, physicians, nurses, peer support specialists, and medical assistants.

“It will also have the capacity to serve people who are under involuntary commitment and who will need detox from opioid and other substances,” Ehlers said. 

There is no word yet on where its location will be, though Trillium representatives noted the goal is to be close to sober living settings, medical offices, and bus stops. It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Having access to housing, health care, and transportation are important elements for individuals in recovery to stay connected and maintain well-being,” according to a press release.

The Harbor will be enrolled in statewide Medicaid health plans and receive state funding, which Trillium disburses across 28 counties in North Carolina.  

“The funding amounts vary from each plan and is based on utilization,” Ehlers said. “RHA has been working with other groups to acquire the additional funding needed for the facility. Trillium and other health plans will ultimately fund the long term sustainability through ongoing contracts with RHA to reimburse them for delivering services.

The center also will have residential space for transitional housing, to be overseen by Leading Into New Communities (LINC), a nonprofit that provides transitional living and case management to recently incarcerated individuals. 

“As the full picture of those affected by the pandemic continues to come to light, mental health and substance use crisis services have never been more in need,” Joy Futrell, CEO of Trillium, said in the release.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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