ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — There’s a place in Rochester where someone struggling with drug or alcohol addiction can go 24 hours a day, seven days a week to get help — Open Access Center.
It’s the only facility of its kind in Monroe County since it opened its doors two years ago. The center helps direct people to addiction treatment services by giving immediate engagement and assessment for people suffering from all types of substance use.
Mark Johnson is a senior peer advocate who works Delphi Rise’s Open Access in Rochester. When walking through the doors, Johnson is one of the first people to offer help.
“You can go to the doctor all you want and the doctor can say, I understand what you’re going through, but they don’t,” he said. “The peers here have been through it, or are going through it. When I tell the client I understand what you’re going through, I really do.”
Having gone through alcoholism himself and currently in recovery, he’s able to relate better with the clients. “We’re not going to arrest our way out of this problem. Open Access exists for a reason and that is because we need to make the public aware and make the patients aware of what they’re going through with somebody other that understands.”
The center is staffed with peer advocates like Johnson and others who have experiences drug abuse or are in recovery themselves.
Deb Leach is the associate director and said the facility is one of a kind in the county and the state’s response to the opioid crisis. Even though the numbers in Monroe County are down, Leach said the fight isn’t over yet.
“We’re seeing that so many people are overdosing, we’re loosing 115 people a day in this country to overdoses and this is needed. We need to be here to help fight this.”
Leach also said it’s very crucial for those who want to get sober, to get help immediately or else they’ll go back on that roller coaster of drug abuse.
“When somebody says ‘I want this and I want it now,’ that we can act on it immediately. Because, they say that right now in the moment, but if we can’t get them placed, if somebody is leaving or doesn’t like what they hear, and they step out of those doors there’s no guarantee you’ll see them again.”
One of the successful ways of preventing opioid deaths is using Narcan — which training is provided at the center at any time.
Open Access — open to anyone who wants to turn their life around.