Volume 20, Number 47 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | April 6 - April 12, 2011
New Tribeca treatment center partners with Columbia
BY Aline Reynolds
A new Downtown treatment facility has partnered with Columbia University to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment for young adults.
Tribeca Twelve, an addiction treatment center opening on West Broadway in August, will offer outpatient services at the university’s College Student Program at East 60th Street and Madison Avenue.
“We were not going anywhere in New York unless we had a strong clinical partner,” said Mark Mishek, president and chief executive officer of the Hazelden Foundation, owner and operator of Tribeca Twelve. The university’s psychiatry department gave Hazelden the idea to open the treatment facility Downtown, where there was a need.
Tribeca Twelve will offer lodging, recovery care, youth activities and drug testing to 30 recovering addicts ages 18 to 29 for six to 12 months at a time. The residence will be situated in a renovated six-story building at 283 West Broadway.
The advantage of attending a residence program in the heart of the city is that youths are trained to overcome substance abuse in a day-to-day life setting, according to Jon Morgenstern, director of addiction treatment at Columbia’s Department of Psychiatry. “You can go to a facility that’s far away, but you have to be able to come back and handle reality,” he said.
Morgenstern stressed the importance for the struggling youths to seek professional treatment that can help get them back on track. “They’re at the point at which they just don’t have the understanding, social network or resources to manage on their own,” he said. “The idea is, this will be a treatment program plus a supportive environment for sober residents for these young adults to live in.”
The College Student Program, which is optional for the Tribeca Twelve residents, will offer services beyond those provided by Hazelden at the residence, Mishek said, such as diagnosing and remedying recurring mental health problems tied to substance abuse.
The program will offer general group counseling sessions in the mornings and focused skills classes in the afternoons. Intensive treatment sessions will take place five days per week, and, unlike at Tribeca Twelve, in-house psychiatrists will be able to prescribe mental health medication to the youths. “We’ll try to get people as quickly as possible to a lower level of care, and out into the community,” said Morgenstern.
The goal, Morgenstern explained, is to motivate the youths to return or enter college, or find full-time employment. “We’re trying to hold their hand and gradually re-acclimate them into the world and transition them back to academic activities, and their everyday lives.”
Part of the therapy involves training the youths to cope with the myriad temptations to drink and do drugs on college grounds, where the level of exposure to both is high.
The program, which treats approximately 70 patients on a regular basis, is one of the only of its kind citywide that specializes in patients ages 19 to 30. “It creates a very good peer support network, and that’s really important for young adults,” said Morgenstern.
The university anticipates a high turnout of Tribeca Twelve patients.
Hazelden will also collaborate with Columbia to develop a cutting-edge outpatient adolescent program to enhance services for teens.
The foundation has plans to forge partnerships with the health departments of New York University and other Tristate colleges, and to work with mental health service providers to optimize treatment for the youths.
“Hazelden is deeply committed to helping more people find freedom of addiction, and our new collegiate recovery program opens the door to that new life for young adults,” said Mark Sheets, Hazelden’s executive director of regional and recovery services.
Tribeca Twelve, priced at $5,200 per month, has already secured one resident. Hazelden hopes to raise funds through donations, moving forward, so that it can help subsidize the youths’ lodging fees.
“We’d like costs to be mitigated via raising philanthropic dollars, instead of charging students more,” said Mischek.
Hazelden will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Tribeca Twelve on July 27, and open the facility on August 1.