Kaitlin Lange and Shari Rudovsky, Indianapolis Star, July 31, 2019
At first glance, Carmel may seem an odd choice for an addiction treatment center. After all, the affluent city is known more as a place to enjoy an idyllic lifestyle than recover from a substance use disorder.
But addiction doesn’t discriminate, which is why Landmark Recovery plans to open its first Indiana location in Carmel in early August.
Landmark, which has facilities in Kentucky, will operate a 48-bed facility in a former plastic surgery center near the intersection of 136th Street and North Meridian Street. The center will be one of the first inpatient treatment programs in Carmel.
Landmark officials did not specifically target Carmel for their first foray into the state, nor did they focus on finding a site in Indianapolis.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re in an affluent area or in an area that’s not so well off,” said Jessica Goble, a Landmark spokeswoman. “Addiction is addiction no matter where you go.”
Although Hamilton County does not have as rampant a drug problem as some other areas of Indiana, it has its share of drug-related incidents. Earlier this year, the county pioneered a quick response team to encourage people who are resuscitated after an overdose to seek treatment.
In 2018, Hamilton County saw 38 overdose deaths, a number that has been steadily rising, In 2017 first responders delivered more than 300 doses of naloxone to people who overdosed in Hamilton County.
One of the challenges when someone overdoses can be finding a treatment center that has an opening.
Landmark, which will take commercial insurance, will help fill that void, recovery advocates and a city official say.
“There is a major lack of facilities in the community,” said the Rev. Andrea Boutselis, who works with Overdose Lifeline and runs a weekly Parents of Addicted Loved Ones support group in a Carmel church. “There is nowhere that is not being affected by this problem and no town that has not been hit by this.”
Housed in a place that belonged to an outpatient medical practice, Landmark will care for patients in recovery for a variety of substances. The center will offer those who might benefit from medication-assisted treatment, said Michelle McGinnis, the chief clinical officer.
Beds will be two to a room, and the center will have a dining room and full commercial kitchen as well as a fitness center. Patients will engage in fitness for an hour a day, which could include yoga taught by outside instructors, McGinnis said.
During the week patients will be in therapy from around 8 in the morning to 5 in the evening. An additional session might follow in the evening.
The facility sits almost directly across the street from the Hunters Creek South Neighborhood.
Laura Campbell, a City Council member who represents the Northwest District, says she hasn’t heard any complaints from her constituents who live nearby.
Campbell said she welcomes a place residents can go to get help.
“Addiction issues are in our backyard, so we can’t say we don’t want a treatment center in our backyard,” Campbell said.
Boutselis said that people with substance use disorders have as much right to and need for medical care as those who have diabetes or require chemotherapy to treat cancer, she said.
“I would rather have somebody in my back yard in a treatment center getting help for a life-threatening disease than to find someone dead in my front yard from the disease,” Boutselis said.
The site already was zoned for medical use.
“We’re not a company that builds new facilities,” McGinnis said. “We’re not just delivering services. We’re also taking a space that has been vacant for years and breathing life back into it.”