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Second chance for addicts Allison K. Sampité | Sat, Jul 14 2012 12:00 PM

National City is now home to the city’s first residential treatment and rehabilitation facility for adults with substance abuse problems.

The Renaissance Center, which began accepting patients Thursday, provides recovery services to San Diego adults in need of detoxification and short- and long-term care.

At its grand opening Tuesday, community leaders, volunteers, supporters and project partners spoke about the importance of the center as well as the multi-year effort to make the dream a reality.

Volunteers of America CEO and President Gerald McFadden said the center provides an opportunity for those suffering from addiction a chance to regain their footing in life.

“When people ask me what kind of business I’m in, I always say, ‘I’m in the turn-around business,’” McFadden said.

“We send men and women home clean and sober so they can be moms and dads, wives and husbands.”

National City Mayor Ron Morrison said the center would provide critical resources to people who need help but don’t have the resources to receive treatment.

“We’re here today because we’re human beings,” Morrison said. “We’re not ostriches. We’re not going to stick our heads in the sand. This is part of where our society is right now. We have to face up to realities.”

Operated by a nonprofit organization, Volunteers of America Southwest, the center was designed to address complex issues faced by those with substance abuse addictions, using cognitive-behavioral therapy.

The nonprofit partnered with the city and United Healthcare to build the facility, the latter providing $5.5 million to help the uninsured and underserved receive the treatment they need.

The director of alcohol and drug services for San Diego Health and Human Services, Susan Bower, said that in general, about 10 percent of a given population needs treatment for alcohol and/or drug addiction.

The 120-unit center is designed as dorm-room style and is equipped with a community room, kitchen, laundry room, fitness area and in-house social services.

Individuals seeking recovery are assessed for treatment needs and placed in either a 15-day detoxification program, 30- to 90-day short-term program or a three- to six-month long-term care program.

McFadden said a total of 396,000 people have been served through its treatment and addiction centers.

“The Volunteers of America never forget … that everyone we serve is someone,” McFadden said. “The current circumstance that the individual is in when they walked through our door does not define who they could be through our program.”

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