Elected officials, local health leaders, law enforcement officials and other community members celebrated the opening of the region’s first detox facility in Schuyler Falls, NY Friday.

The Champlain Valley Family Center Recovery Campus will provide care for people recovering from substance abuse disorders, specifically as they go through withdrawal.

It’s been in the works for several years.

Champlain Valley Family Center CEO and executive director Connie Wille says the idea came about in a meeting with state Sen. Betty Little (R – Glens Falls) and others at the University of Vermont Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital several years ago.

“At one point during our meeting, [Sen. Little] made a comment, ‘We have a number of vacated state properties in the North Country, let’s reuse them and get a detox and a rehab locally.’ Leaving that meeting very motivated, I followed up on her recommendation,” said Wille.

Wille gave Sen. Little an award for her efforts during her remarks Friday.

The new recovery campus is housed on previously vacant state-owned property on Norrisville Road in Schuyler Falls.

“We’re giving new life to this facility that had previously been vacant for many years,” said Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez, commissioner of the New York Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services. “In return this facility will give individuals and families the opportunity to reclaim their lives and begin the paths to recovery.”

In order to recover from an addiction, users must go through withdrawal. It’s a process so difficult it’s best to go through it in a detox facility under medical supervision.

The closest such facility was, previously, hours away, officials say.

“Those people that had to go there for their detox, for one thing, they met new friends which wasn’t always good. Secondly, they did not have the support of their families while they were there because of the distance,” said Sen. Little.

“It’s a time when a person is feeling very very sick, very vulnerable and our building and our staff are committed to helping people get through that very difficult process,” said Ron Garrow, program director at the new recovery campus.

The 18-bed facility will start accepting patients beginning in the second week in November.

“I’ve seen just too many people die from this horrible disease. This opioid epidemic is a true killer,” said Garrow.

Twenty eight people staff the new multi-million dollar facility.

Patients could be on site from 5 to 90 days at a time.

The Champlain Valley Family Center has a 30-year lease on the state-owned building.

There are options for expansions on the property if needed, Wille says.

Representatives from New York State Police, Clinton County Sheriff David Favro, Plattsburgh town supervisor Michael Cashman, United Way of the Adirondack Region, Inc. CEO John Bernardi and Assemblyman Billy Jones were among other community leaders in attendance.

“It really warms my heart here this morning, or this afternoon, to walk into this room and see all this community support. What it proves is that people in this North Country community want to help,” said Jones (D – 115th District). “The clinical services this facility will provide: education, counseling, treatment, family means that we can help these families not only survive, but thrive in their recovery.”