Ocean County’s battle on opioid abuse received a potent asset this week, as Turning Point, a North Jersey-based practice that has been helping patients overcome drug addiction for 43 years, opened a new office in Lakewood.
Turning Point’s new location, adjacent to Monmouth Medical Center’s southern campus on Prospect Street, will serve as an outpatient center, offering those struggling with addiction intensive outpatient services, counseling and group therapy sessions. It will be staffed by licensed clinicians and work in tandem with the practice’s in Paterson and Whitehouse Station. A need had existed for an Ocean County facility for some time, said Robert Detore, Turning Point’s CEO.
“At our inpatient facility in Passaic county, the second-highest source location of where people live is Ocean County,” he said, explaining that in the past, patients who completed inpatient services were referred elsewhere. “Now, once people are discharged from our inpatient facility, they can come here and continue their care close to home.”
The Lakewood office will also offer family counseling, individual treatment planning and access to the practice’s full continuum of care.
Holly, an Ocean County resident who is recovering from drug addiction, was on hand for the opening of the new facility Thursday and credits Turning Point with saving her life. Holly, who grew up with a father who abused drugs and alcohol, eventually found herself in an abusive relationship and slipped into cocaine and heroin addictions. The spiral ended with an arrest, but now-retired Superior Court Judge James Blaney ordered her to give Turning Point a try – and she now says the judge and the people who helped turn her life around performed a “miracle.”
“For three years, I lost everything,” she said of her time addicted to drugs. “My child was taken away by DYFS. I gave up everything and I didn’t care. I lived out of my car for four months.”
When she first met with a counselor at Turning Point, she broke down in tears.
“What my counselor did in 28 days, other people couldn’t do in years,” she bravely told a group of local officials, reporters and staff members gathered for the ceremony. “She allowed me to cry for two hours until I felt all the pain I had experienced through life.”
Holly’s story ended in success. She is now a peer counselor at Turning Point, helping others overcome addiction as she did. Turning Point provided her with structure, she said: “It was the routine that I needed. It was an amazing experience – it was not easy, but it was needed. When you are coming through an addiction, you need that routine.”
Since completing the program, Holly regained custody of her son, got married and has had two daughters. She is currently in school earning a degree to become a full-time counselor.
“Unfortunately, there is an epidemic across the country and it is very big in Ocean County,” said Freeholder Director Virginia Haines, who was on hand for the grand opening. “Fortunately with Turning Point being in the area, there is now a place where people can get help and turn their lives around.”
Detore said new patients are sometimes referred by a court, as Holly was, but they can also come in on their own. They first meet with a counselor, confidentially, who helps create a map to recovery.
“The first step is obviously confidential, and we talk about your current situation and recommend a course of action or treatment,” said Detore. “It should never be intimidating – often the hardest thing to do is to ask for help, I understand – but we’re used to that. The way we handle it is very confidential and very professional.”
The facility accepts most insurance plans as well as Medicaid, and is a nonprofit organization that also works to obtain grant funding to fulfill its mission.
Part of Turning Point’s mission is to see a person’s recovery through from start to finish, and the de facto motto is that Turning Point never gives up on anyone. That concept was brought home in a thank-you note written by a former patient who said he probably wouldn’t be alive except for the help Turning Point provided.
“He just wrote on the paper: ‘thank you, you never gave up on me,'” said Detore. “And that is our motto, our history and our mission in Ocean County. We don’t give up on anybody.”
For More Information:
101 Prospect Street, Suite 210, Lakewood, NJ
Hours: Monday, Friday – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tues., Weds., Thurs.: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.