Niagara County officials joined elected leaders Friday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially announce Northpointe Council’s relocation and expansion in the Trott Access Center in Niagara Falls.
The expansion project relocated Northpointe to a newly built space at the south end of Trott, increasing the facility’s space from 3,800 square-feet to approximately 9,000 square-feet and allowing the clinic to increase its patient list from 120 to 250. Northpointe will remain located in the Trott Access Center for quite some time, as the Niagara County Legislature approved a 20-year lease in June 2018.
Daniel Shubsda, president of Northpointe Council, expressed his gratitude for the efforts of both the county and legislature for making the expansion possible.
“I’d like to acknowledge the collaborative efforts of the County Manager Rick Updegrove and the Department of Public Works. Northpointe’s mission is to provide the best quality treatment for our patients and, with this expansion, we are able to help more people suffering from opioid addiction through our methadone maintenance treatment program,” Shubsda said.
The expansion has been funded with $226,626 from Northpointe, a $150,000 state and municipal facilities program grant, $50,000 from the City of Niagara Falls, and $150,000 through New York State Dormitory Authority grants. In April 2018, the legislature awarded a $33,965 contract to HW Bryk & Sons to handle plumbing in the new location.
Legislator Dennis Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls, worked closely with county leadership in seeing the project to a successful completion.
“This expansion was completed only through commitment and communication. By working with County Manager Rick Updegrove, we were able to significantly reduce project expenses through the utilization of in-house resources,” Virtuoso said.
Legislator Randy Bradt, R-North Tonawanda, who sponsored the resolution to form the Niagara County Opioid Task Force (OASIS), was personally affected by the opioid epidemic having lost a family member.
“The opioid epidemic is something that has been sweeping the nation, but it has also affected me on a personal level as I lost my 21-year-old nephew to the grips of addiction,” he said. “Hopefully, with new treatment modalities offered by Northpointe, families will not have to face such tragedy caused by opioid addiction.”
Legislator Rebecca Wydysh, R-Lewiston, who chairs OASIS, addressed the need for facilities such as Northpointe to make recovery achievable.
“This expansion was necessary, as the opioid crisis is affecting every community in Niagara County,” she said. “As the chair of the county’s opioid task force, it was incumbent upon us to take action to substantially reduce the number of overdose incidents that we experienced in 2018.”
One of the crucial treatment programs being provided in the new space is the methadone maintenance treatment program, which is designed to allow clients a chance stop the use of heroin and other opiate-based drugs without experiencing painful symptoms associated with untreated withdrawal. This program is intended to reduce cravings, drug-related violence and crime, HIV exposure, and high-risk sexual activity, thus providing an opportunity for one to focus on pursuing a positive, drug-free lifestyle.
Laura Kelemen, Niagara County director of mental health and substance abuse services, said, “Medication-based treatment has been proven to be effective in treating substance use disorder and saving lives. The methadone program that Northpointe provides will help those suffering from drug addiction and ultimately create a pathway toward recovery.”