Albany, New York is home to the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center, which has evolved significantly over the years. In the early ‘70s, a group of community leaders in Arbor Hill (a neighborhood within Albany) discussed opening a facility that would provide affordable healthcare for the community. Out of that discussion came Whitney M. Young, which has since opened a number of medical, dental and addiction-related programs while maintaining a mission of keeping their costs low and their doors open. Whitney M. Young offers two outpatient options, namely the Family Alcoholism and Chemical Treatment Services program (FACTS) and the Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program (MMTP).
Treatment and Staff
Although length of treatment is determined on a case by case basis, those in FACTS usually enroll for between three and six months. Aside from the base requirement that all clients be 18 or older, other criteria for participation include meeting with a counselor once a month for a half hour of individual therapy, and participating in regular group therapy, the number of which is determined by clients and their counselors. Whitney M. Young does not offer medical detox.
Though FACTS currently only runs day groups from 9 am to 12:15 pm, it plans to re-open evening groups once there’s more demand. Some of these sessions are didactic and offer information about addiction, while others are discussion-based about preventing relapse, handling triggers and working toward steady employment. The goal of this approach is to diminish any sense of isolation clients may feel by having them connect with peers. FACTS also introduces 12-step principles and provides information about local meetings, though attendance is not mandatory.
Group sessions tend never to have more than 15 participants at a time, and all are facilitated by one of three or four counselors on staff; the same counselors also provide one-on-one therapy. Although these groups are available only in the morning, the office itself is open and staffed from 8 am to 7 pm on Monday through Thursday, and 8 am to 5 pm on Fridays.
The methadone program (called MMTP) is for heroin and opiate addicts, and admission is determined by age, past treatment and addiction history. Though methadone is a controversial option within the recovery community, the rationale behind it here is that limiting or altogether stopping the sharing of needles helps clients’ physical health, at least by preventing exposure to HIV and Hepatitis C. By not using heroin or opiates, the hope is that clients stop getting in legal trouble by seeking illegal drugs as well.
In MMTP, clients receive individual counseling and substance abuse education. In support groups, they follow an evidence-based curriculum guided by a counselor. The program also helps clients ready themselves for employment, and offers special services like education and peer groups specifically for pregnant women. MMTP has morning sessions from 6:30 to 10 am, and afternoon sessions from 12:30 to 3 pm, all available Monday through Friday and on Saturday mornings.
For all programs described above, immunization against Hepatitis A and B is available as is education about preventing HIV and Hepatitis C. Whitney M. Young also offers a special program for those with gambling addictions, and opiate addicts have the additional option of being treated with buprenorphine for withdrawal. For clients without a car or a way to get around, the facility can arrange for transportation to and from treatment.
Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center offers basic drug and alcohol treatment. It does not offer a full continuum of care, nor does it serve dual diagnosis clients. As a result, it may be a better fit for recovering addicts who have stepped down from an inpatient facility, or for locals who don’t have the luxury of leaving their daily responsibilities.
Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Center
900 Lark Dr
Albany, NY 12207
10 Dewitt St
Albany, NY 12207
Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center Cost: $240-$800 (28 days). Reach Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center by phone at (518) 465-9345 or (518) 463-3882, or by email at [email protected]. Find Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center on Facebook
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