Home Health Health News To meet growing demand, ELIH expanding its substance abuse and addiction outpatient...

To meet growing demand, ELIH expanding its substance abuse and addiction outpatient program, Quannacut

The Quannacut facility on Harrison Avenue in Riverhead will be moving to new, larger quarters. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Eastern Long Island Hospital is expanding its behavioral health services program to meet the North Fork’s growing demand for substance abuse and addiction treatment services.

With the aid of a $1.6 million grant awarded to the hospital by the New York State Department of Health, Quannacut Outpatient Services, which has been located on Harrison Avenue in Riverhead since 2001, will move to a new facility roughly double its current size.

“Over the past few years we’ve seen a huge growth in the number of people coming to the facility,” Quannacut director of operations David Cohen said in an interview yesterday.

Presently there are about 290 patients being actively treated for abuse of opiates (heroin, morphine, oxycodone), alcohol, benzodiazepines (highly addictive anti-anxiety medications such Valium, Librium, Xanax), and to a lesser degree, marijuana and cocaine, Cohen said.

“About two years ago we saw a tremendous increase of young adults 18 to 25 years old and have tried to tailor things to accommodate that population. It’s leveled out now but it was a pretty big increase coming here,” he said.

The new expanded space — which will be located in Riverhead in an as-yet undisclosed location — will allow for the integration of primary care as well as mental health services.

That “supports a transformational change within the healthcare system, and increases access to services for at-risk populations,” ELIH president and CEO  Paul Connor said in a statement.

The private, non-profit facility also treats a large number of Medicaid and Medicare patients, many of them disabled or with psychiatric or medical disabilities. About half the patients are referred to Quannacut through inpatient facilities such as rehabs, detoxes, psych units, or medical floors, according to Cohen.

The program recently added walk-in intakes two mornings a week where patients can come by to be evaluated immediately.

“We’ve recognized the need to move for quite a while,” said Cohen. “It’s great to see Long Island entities getting this funding.”

Some of the grant funds will be used to open a third sober house and to upgrade one of the two it presently operates.

Katharine is a writer and photographer who has lived on the North Fork for nearly 40 years, except for three-plus years in Hong Kong a decade ago, working for the actor Jackie Chan. She lives in Cutchogue. Email Katharine