It has taken 18 months for Damascus Road Ministries to open an accredited, Medicaid-funded and licensed substance use disorder inpatient residential treatment center.

Ministry head Randy Leviton said in the next two weeks the Freedom Recovery Center will open fully staffed with credentialed addiction counselors.

The center will be able to house up to 22 women for a 21- to 90-day stay “depending on medicaid approval. Private insurance and private pay will be a 90-day program” Leviton said.

Damascus Road has identified the need locally to deal with addiction to opioids, heroin, alcohol and other drugs.

“Michigan has been ravaged by the opioid and heroin epidemic. Our research indicates that there is a strong demand for comprehensive community-based treatment in Branch County,” Leviton said. “When fully operational, we will provide the widest spectrum of treatment services available.”

Only outpatient programs are availible.

Currently, local courts which wish to send defendants for treatment are limited to KPEP and Twin County Probation Center or to a private center if the defendant or family can afford it.

Leviton had been working to obtain licences and accreditation for private insurance and Medicaid certification. The Medicaid funds can allow those in the criminal justice to receive paid inpatient care.

Leviton said “Damascus Road Ministries has had the privilege to work with hundreds of men in our community over the last 18 years. We so appreciate the help and support that we've received. Now, in an effort to expand our service, we have initiated the next phase of our vision.”

Once the women’s center is operating, Leviton said the ministry will begin planning a second residential treatment facility for men to go with its existing men's substance abuse halfway house.

“The final piece will be a halfway house facility for women,” he said.

“We see this as a necessary service in this area and our desire is that there will be a place for them to go upon completion of their inpatient stay, where they can learn to live fulfilling, sober lives,” Leviton said.

The centers will serve all southwest Michigan residents.