As fatal opioid overdoses continue to rise in the nation's capital, D.C. leaders on Monday unveiled a new facility where people struggling with addiction can come to seek help any day of the week, at any time.
"It's a safe place whether it's 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning," said Dr. Barbara Bazron, director of DC's behavioral health department.
The facility on K Street in Northeast, called the “stabilization center,” offers immediate on-site help to people 18 and older, including medication and counseling.
People who go there can connect with long-term care and other resources and programs that support recovery.
It's free and there are no insurance or residency requirements.
"Recovery from addiction is possible," Bazron said. "The treatment works."
In 2022, there were 461 fatal opioid-related overdoses in DC with a average of 38 deaths per month .
So far this year there have been about 300.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution and we are glad to have this facility now in our toolbox,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser.
According to Bowser, the stabilization center will not only help people, but will also relieve pressure on hospital emergency rooms and emergency psychiatric centers.
Emergency crisis intervention care offered at the center typically lasts between 24 and 72 hours.
When patients first arrive, they will receive a medical and psychosocial evaluation, as well as a treatment plan.
Patients will receive on-site support from a team of nurse practitioners, registered nurses, peer specialists, recovery counselors and patient care technicians.
"When people get the right care, they have better outcomes," Bowser said.
Specialist peers, many of whom have lived experiences with addiction, will work individually with patients to navigate their recovery and refer them to appropriate long-term treatment options.
"Patients will be closely monitored by medical professionals and staff throughout the stabilization process, including examinations and medical observations," according to Bowser.