Updated:BEAVER COUNTY, Pa. —
A new 25,000-square-foot facility in Beaver County will soon open in hopes of addressing the needs of teens in Western Pennsylvania who are fighting addiction.
Dr. Neil Capretto took Channel 11’s Jennifer Abney on a hardhat tour of the facility.
He never imagined when he started with Gateway Rehab more than 23 years ago that an adolescent treatment building would ever be needed.
“We are seeing 16, 17 year olds that have now been using for two or three years,” he said, “We are seeing 15, 14 year olds who started when they were 11 or 12. It’s an epidemic and many of them are dying.”
A recent study released by drugfree.org found that 47 percent of teens have tried marijuana, and that 23 percent have taken a painkiller that wasn’t prescribed to them.
“I get calls every day from families who are devastated because their son or daughter has fallen into addiction and they don't know where to turn,” said Dr. Capretto.
The new building will have 21 beds and is about half the size of a football field.
David Blenk, the executive vice president of Corporate Planning at Gateway, helped with the design.
“We're dealing with every aspect of the patient while they're in treatment,” he said.
Rooms are specifically designed for the younger addict. There is a classroom to keep up with school, a family room to socialize, a fitness room to work out and even a garden to relax.
Nicole Kurash will be the director at the new facility. She is looking forward to making a difference in the lives of more teens in a setting they can relate to and thrive in.
“They will have their own adolescent friendly space. It’s not sharing with adults or something that feels hospital like,” she said. “This building feels adolescent like, less of a medical setting.”
The facility is scheduled to open in August.