TUCSON, Ariz. - More than forty-two thousand people died in the United States from opioid overdose in 2016. Today, thousands more are struggling with addiction.
A local treatment center plans to expand by almost 50 patients next year and officials say this could help make a big impact on those dealing with drug addiction.
Sierra Tucson, one of the biggest residential treatment centers in the Old Pueblo, is expanding soon. The $16.5 million project aims to help victims of addiction in Southern Arizona. An area of vacant land in the current 160-acre campus will be transformed into a 30,895 square-foot
one-story building that will make room for nearly 50 new patients, and many new medical providers. The building will include, integrative therapy rooms, a new pharmacy center and expanded facilities for individual treatment sessions.
According to Dr. Aaaron Wilson, Sierra Tucson's chief medical officer, the expansion is all about access to care and having more beds, "it improves the access to care for folks," he said. Administrators at Sierra Tucson say, as the opioid epidemic grows, they also need to grow, and the new space will allow them to continue giving innovative and integrative treatment to their patients. "It's not just a place to go detox," he added. Dr. Wilson believes integrative treatment is key to end the opioid emergency in the U.S. "We try to tailor the treatment to every person, because it's not one size fits all, of one things isn't working we try to adjust and find something that works for them," he said.
The goal of the expansion is to continue serving everyone who needs help with recovery, regardless of their social status, said Sierra Tucson's Chief Executive Officer Jaime Vink. "Now we accept a number of major insurances, 70% of our residents here are on insurance in full or part and we want to continue doing that," she said.
The groundbreaking ceremony for Sierra Tucson's new building is next Wednesday. Construction will begin the next day and is expected to be complete by september next year.