By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – The City Council heard ACCESS Chief Operating Officer Lina Hourani-Harajili speak about a proposed substance use disorder treatment center during the March 2 Committee of the Whole meeting.
At the March 7 council meeting, the city may approve a partnership with ACCESS to sell for $1, via a quit claim deed, vacant lots at 5127, 5121, 5115 and 5109 Eugene Court, on which transitional supportive housing for a substance use disorder treatment center will be built. The land is south of Michigan Avenue and west of Wyoming Avenue in the city’s South End.
The proposed three-story, 45,000-square-foot building would accept Medicaid and would offer free treatment to uninsured patients.
In materials Hourani-Harajili supplied to the council, it was outlined that the Arab American community faces unique challenges which exacerbate substance use disorders, which include shame and stigma, which prompts families to hide the disorder, as well as lack of awareness, fear of legal ramifications and mistrust of the mainstream treatment community.
She provided material which explain that drug overdose deaths are at their highest levels ever in southeast Michigan, a trend mirrored across the United States, which was worsened by the stress and social isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overdoses primarily occur among those 35 to 55 years old. Fewer people are seeking treatment since before the pandemic, and wait time to receive services ranges from five to seven days.
An ACCESS team works with the Dearborn and Dearborn Heights police departments to direct overdose survivors into recovery treatment and harm-reduction services through its Overdose Rapid Response Partnership.
The proposed treatment center will offer bilingual and culturally sensitive programming, and will offer short-term residential care, food assistance, housing, education and employment assistance.
Treatment will begin with recovery support services and care coordination, followed by intensive clinical counseling, psychiatric services, medication-assisted treatment, pain management and wellness care, and supportive social services.
Hourani-Harajili said the facility is very much needed, with overdose deaths being at an all-time high.
“We have embarked on a capital campaign to raise $18 to $20 million to build the 45,000-square-foot, three-story facility that will house a substance use disorder treatment center,” she said. “We understand that a lot of these models are city, non-profit partnerships and we appreciate the four lots being provided to us.”