A company that offers counseling and treatment for people struggling with addiction is scheduled to open an office in downtown Derby this spring.
The MidWestern Connecticut Council of Alcoholism, Inc. (MCCA) has entered into a five-year lease to take up the second floor of 100 Elizabeth St, a two-story brick building next to the Sterling Opera House and state Superior Court.
The first floor of the building already houses offices for the state’s Office of Adult Probation.
The 5,709-square-foot space will be home to three employees.
“We expect as it builds to add employees,” said Joe Sullivan, the MCCA’s chief executive officer.
Sullivan said a similar office his company opened in Waterbury about three years ago with a staff of three has since grown to 14.
Sullivan said that the space will be used for counseling sessions. No medication will be administered at the site.
“It’ll be outpatient group and individual counseling and assessments,” he said.
MCCA recently won a contract from the state to provide court-ordered treatment to people who have substance abuse problems which will help the new office get off the ground, he said.
“Initially that will be where the referrals will come from,” Sullivan said about the court house two doors away. “As we get established there we think we’ll have more referrals through the community.”
Drugs have long been thought to ab underlying factor in crimes, especially the relatively low-level crimes heard in Superior Court in Derby.
A 2008 study commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance said that two-thirds Connecticut’s inmates have substance abuse problems.
The space was leased through Fischer Commercial Real Estate Specialists. Alan M. Fischer represented MCCA in the transaction and Cynthia Tsokalas represented landlord Capwood Associates III, LLC.
Fischer said the space has been available for about a year
“MCCA reacts to where the needs are,” Fischer said. “It’s a territory they needed to create a presence in.”
Sullivan said the location is a good one in terms of being accessible to clients.
“The courthouse (being nearby) was a factor, and probation has one of the floors in the building, so we thought that that would be an asset,” Sullivan said. “Transportation-wise it was a good location and so forth.”
Sullivan said he doesn’t have data specific to substance abuse problems in Derby or the lower Naugatuck Valley, but that alcohol is always a common addiction.
“Based upon our experience everywhere else, the biggest single drug of abuse that people come into treatment for is alcohol, and I expect that to be the case in Derby as it is everywhere else,” Sullivan said. “Prescription opiates are a big factor because opiates are so overprescribed by medical professionals that addiction becomes a big problem.”
Past surveys by lower Valley social service agencies, such as Valley Substance Abuse Action, has found high rates of alcohol and drug abuse among the Valley’s youngest residents.
Sullivan said the office space within 100 Elizabeth St. has to be “built out” before MCCA moves in. He said he hoped the prep work would be completed in time for the company to open the office at some point this spring.
The employees at the office will be licensed social workers and licensed counselors, he said.
MCCA was established in 1972 and offers a wide variety of substance abuse recovery programs for patients and their families. Gambling, alcohol and prescription drug use are some of their treatments.
Sullivan said his company is highly accredited by industry groups and provides the best standards of care.
“MCCA is generally recognized as one of the highest quality substance abuse treatment providers in the state,” he said. “We constantly rate at the top in terms of customer satisfaction in multiple categories that the state evaluates.”
MCCA’s main office is in Danbury, but the company has outpatient locations in Ridgefield, Danbury, New Milford, Torrington, and Waterbury.
With reporting from Ethan Fry.