MEDINA — A new drug recovery center is in the planning stages in the city of Medina.
The Hope Recovery Community is expected to move into the Children’s Center of Medina County, 200 Highland Drive, possibly as early as March.
That’s when the Children’s Center is scheduled to move to its new location at 724 E. Smith Road, Medina.
“We’re in the process of getting organized,” Hope Recovery board member Dave Caperton said. “We’re in our infancy. We’re moving forward.”
He said the group has already formed an 11-person governing board, but the names have not yet been released. Its first meeting will be Sunday at Heartland Community Church, 3400 Weymouth Road, Medina Township.
Caperton said the board is made up of people in and outside of the recovery community. He said there is also an 11-person advisory board, which he called a “think tank.”
Many of those people have since splintered from the Recovery Center of Medina County and are looking to start up their own organization as they disagree with how the Recovery Center operates a restaurant run by addicts that serves alcohol.
“I was the original executive director at the Recovery Center (of Medina County),” he said. “When I found out they were going to serve alcohol, I resigned. It didn’t fit with my beliefs.
“It’s a big issue serving of alcohol in an establishment like that. We do everything we can to keep (those in recovery) away from it. They need to stay chemical free — in liquid form or powder form.”
Caperton said the Medina County Alcohol, Drugs and Mental Health Board is in the process of purchasing the Children’s Center building and will enter into a lease agreement with the Hope Recovery Community.
“It’s completed or close,” he said. “They won’t be out of there until March.”
The ADAMH Board will fund the Hope Recovery Community and help it get off its feet. After Hope becomes a 501(c)(3) nonprofit — it is applying for that status now — Caperton said it will hold some fundraisers and eventually apply for some grants.
It hopes to be self-sufficient in a year to 18 months, he said.
“We’ve had a lot of support in the community,” Caperton said.
Caperton said another drug rehab facility is needed “because we don’t have a recovery center in Medina run by people in recovery.”
He said about 130 people that were attending meetings at the Recovery Center of Medina County have left. Caperton said they are attending meetings at several area churches, including Heartland and Cornerstone Chapel, 3939 Granger Road, Medina Township.
“They pulled out of there because they were selling alcohol,” Caperton said. “It’s very inappropriate to sell alcohol at a recovery center. It’s against the beliefs of those in recovery. The mainstream recovery community doesn’t have anything to do with it at all.”
However, it’s not the Recovery Center selling alcohol.
Serenite Restaurant, a full-service training restaurant, sells alcohol as part of its French cuisine. It is also running its culinary institute out of the building at 538 W. Liberty St.
“I don’t know how badly Medina needed a French restaurant,” Caperton said. “Escargot is not part of my diet. I like a nice steak.”
Jess Hazeltine, administrative manager at the Recovery Center of Medina County, said Monday that many of people in recovery “took objection to there being liquor in the restaurant.”
She said the Recovery Center still offers a number of meetings and programming “that aren’t available anywhere else in Medina County.”
The center offers a secular recovery group, which is complete abstention.
It hopes to soon offer Medically Assisted Treatment, such as suboxone and methadone.
Hazeltine said the Recovery Center also offers Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Hazeltine said there are about 80 people per week attending meetings at the Recovery Center.
“We still provide those traditional meetings,” she said. “People are coming to them. When people go to a meeting, it’s on content and not location.”
Serving alcohol in the restaurant is a “coping mechanism” for the real world, she said.
“Alcohol is every where,” she said. “There are a lot of people in recovery working in restaurants. When these guys come, they come to work. It’s not glamorous. Drinking is the last thing on their minds.”
Caperton said those in recovery have worked hard to find other ways to come together, signifying the need for an alternative.
Cornerstone Chapel hosts a dinner at 5:30 p.m. Saturdays for food and fellowship. Caperton said it’s labeled Recovery 2.0. Those in recovery and many that are not attend the dinner.
It was originally held at the Recovery Center.
“It’s a reboot,” he said. “It’s a free meal. Sometimes we have potluck. We have good community participation. It helps remove the stigma of addiction in the community. They might be drug addicts, but they are also human beings. Sometimes people forget that.”
Caperton, 72, said he’s been sober for 41 years. He’s a certified peer support specialist and an entry level drug counselor. He talks to the inmates at Medina County Jail a couple times a week, and has expanded his work to Huron County three days a week.
He said he helps them find recovery. Once they are released, he helps them find a sponsor.
Caperton is vice president of Ohio Citizens Advocates for Addiction Recovery, or OCAAR, an advocacy agency that provides grants to set up recovery programs throughout state. His term will expire at the end of the year.
He said a recovery center is needed to have a safe place for those in recovery. That’s what Hope Recovery Community will be.
“They can just drop in during the day,” he said. “It’s not a residential center. It will be open 12 to 14 hours a day.”
He said there will be peer support and counselors at the facility. They will all be volunteers.
Caperton said those in recovery will be helped with finding places to live and to find employment.
Hazeltine is glad another recovery center is opening, but wishes there could be ones in Wadsworth and Brunswick.
“You can put one on every block,” she said. “There need is big.”