The Recovery Road Medical Center in Santa Barbara is looking for a new location but says it has faced some pushback.
The operators are hoping the public and those who are leasing open locations now understand their services and patients better than the message they are receiving now.
It’s giving them a feeling of discrimination.
The center had been located for seven years with no issues in the Galleria on upper State Street. The owner gave them adequate notice that the building was going to be converted into another use – in this case, a Target store. All of the tenants had to leave.
From a temporary site in the 1600 block of State Street downtown, the staff is looking for a new place to permanently call home.
“People who are seeking recovery are really trying to get help and are in a state of change and deserve treatment,” said Dr. Joe Frawley at the center
As they started looking at new sites, and explaining their program, ” we were surprised or shocked by the amount of discrimination against this population,” said Dr. Sherif El-Asyouty. In some cases conversations about leasing have come to a complete stop.
The program has been honored many times for helping those coming back from a variety of addictions ranging from alcohol, to anxiety, eating disorders and serious drugs. Many of the patients are college educated, working and have families.
Awards from local leaders and a framed article in The Pacific Coast Business Times hang on the wall. The doctors say the need for services is vital. “W e have an epidemic now in the United States with regard to opioids which is like a 747 going down once a week . Now if that were happening everyone in this country would be up in arms.”
The staff says it still has options, but wants the community and those with rental space to be more open to their services.
“A lot of people my friends and family they are not clear. They always ask me ‘how do you deal with those people’ and I say they are really amazing. They are you your neighbor , your cousin all of us and a lot of time that is what we deal with,” said El-Asyouty. Many are college graduates, have a job and a family
Frawley says the site then need doesn’t have to be in a special location or near medical buildings. It helps if it is near a transportation corridor because many patients take the bus. “W e basically need a place that has enough room for several group rooms and has some parking. We bring people in that come as a group”
At their prior location they were near other businesses without any issues about their services being compatible. ” We were in the Galleria. It had a bagel shop, it had a wedding shop, it had cosmetics,” said Frawley.
He is hopeful a deal can be worked out soon because they want to continue regular service for their patients trying to improve their lives.