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Charlottesville Shelter to Add Detox Facility for Opioid Addicts

Posted: Updated: Dec 20, 2016 06:26 PM
The Mohr Center in Charlottesville The Mohr Center in Charlottesville
The Mohr Center in Charlottesville The Mohr Center in Charlottesville
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A Charlottesville shelter that had been used for people dealing with alcoholism is changing its focus to target a new public health crisis.

Providers at Region Ten say the Public Inebriate Shelter at the Mohr Center isn't needed anymore. Instead, they're transforming it into a detox center for people addicted to opioids.

The shelter at the Mohr Center started 35 years ago to provide people arrested on a drunk in public charge an option other than going to jail.

“So the police started taking them to there, instead of going to the jail, because the jail wasn't a good place for them either,” said Director of Offender Aid and Restoration in Charlottesville Pat Smith.

In the last few years, the shelter says it has seen much fewer patients needing that service.

“Thankfully the numbers of drunk in public have really gone down over the last 20, 30 years,” said Charlottesville City Councilor Kathy Galvin.

Now providers say the need for opioid detox services in Charlottesville far surpasses that for alcoholics. Additionally, there wasn’t a detox facility in the region for someone at the height of addiction.

“So we are working to remodel the Mohr Center to include four detox beds to help address that in addition to the 10 residential beds already there. So that will allow men to come in if they need to have the detox portion first, to have that in the same facility as the residential,” said Marny Bentley with Region Ten.

Region Ten providers will spend the next four to eight months planning the transition and remodeling the Mohr Center for its new purpose. The residential program at the center will not be affected, though the men will need to temporarily move during construction.

Region Ten tells NBC29 that it decided to keep the current inebriate shelter at the Mohr Center open through March 2017.

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