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00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69e980000Day after day, week after week, the headlines in Northeast Ohio and across much of the country contain news of tragic loss: lives lost to opioids. It’s a problem that knows no bounds: geography, race, gender, level of education or income.The problem took on new urgency this summer as the powerful elephant sedative, Carfentanil, began hitting the streets. First responders armed with their only weapon, the overdose antidote Naloxone, have struggled to keep up with what’s become an overwhelming problem. It’s an issue that’s straining public and social resources. What has become clear is that business as usual is not going to fix the problem.WKSU news has been covering the unfolding crisis. Tuesdays during Morning Edition, the WKSU news team digs even deeper. WKSU reporters will examine what’s led us here and what might be done to turn the tide. Support for Opioids: Turning the Tide in the Crisis comes from Wayne Savings Community Bank, Kent State University Office of Continuing and Distance Education, Hometown Grocery Delivery, Mercy Medical Center, AxessPointe Community Health Center, Community Support Services, Inc., Medina County District Library and Hudson Community First.00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69e980001

Women's Recovery Center of Cleveland Expands Patient Services, Plans for the Future

photo of Lisa Ortiz
KABIR BHATIA
/
WKSU
Lisa Ortiz says the Women's Recovery Center has helped her with art therapy. She enjoys drawing eyes since it makes her reflect on her life.

The Women’s Recovery Center in Cleveland is expanding its services as more and more patients from Cuyahoga, Lorain and Medina Counties struggle with opioid addiction.

The center’s million-dollar expansion has increased patient capacity by 75 percent, and they’re also planning to offer on-site detox, five days a week.

The center is located in a non-descript strip mall -- once a large convenience store -- not far from the Cleveland Zoo. Lisa Ortiz comes by a few times a week for classes to help maintain her sobriety. The mother of four has been heroin-free for three years, and uses art therapy, which she describes as, “calm, relaxed, happy – I love doing it.”

The lifelong Clevelander proudly displays a heart-shaped collage she made with her classmates.

“We rolled some magazine pages up and we stick it on the heart and make things with it [such as] the sun [or] the ocean,” she says.

Ortiz is among the 60 percent of patients at the center who are there for opioid abuse.

Added capacity
Mary Jane Chichester, executive director of the center, says previously there were waiting lists of up to four weeks. Now, she says they can offer some services that are become harder to get as the number of beds at inpatient centers decreases.

“We actually are starting what’s called a ‘non-medical detox’ to be able to address having women come here and detox on-site, five days per week," says Chichester. "And so we can work with them on making sure that they get proper nutrition, hydration, art therapy, case management [and] those kinds of things.”

Chichester adds that she’s already planning for $200,000 in exterior improvements to the building, including lighting upgrades, fencing, and a playground for patients under 12.