Center looks to expand

Published 3:01 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Jerry von Poks, director of business development, spoke about potentially expanding the Three Rivers Treatment Center and Academy at 231 Hickory Road.

He said the treatment center was formerly Kenbridge Youth Academy.

Three Rivers is a short-term residential treatment center for children with emotional or mental conditions.

He requested a special use permit to add a substance abuse and chemical depency treatment service line to the facility, meaning the service line will provide treatment for adults seeking treatment with substance abuse and opioid addiction.

He also noted that Three Rivers is expected to allocate 12 beds for the service line. He said the program is between 21 to 28 days, required due to the opioid crisis.

“There’s definitely a need for it,” von Poks said. “We feel that that is one way that we can not only give back to the community at large, but also increase job opportunities as we are expanding.”

He said another wing of the center is for children and adolescents between the ages of 11 to 17.

About the additional service line, he said “The positive thing with that is with the adult population, you don’t have as many regulatory or licensure requirements with the Department of Mental Health as you do with children.”

Town Mayor Emory Hodges said while the council would not take issue with the facility’s goal, he noted concern about the size of the town police department, and said incidents related to overdose could potentially tie up members of the department for long spaces of time.

For people to enter the treatment center, von Poks said, they have to be medically stable and enter the center voluntarily. He also said that patients who have a dual diagnose, such as alcohol addiction and suicidal tendencies, would not be permitted in the facility. von Poks also noted that there would not be detox services.

“The only way we would contact law enforcement is if they become truly out of hand,” von Poks said.

Kenbridge Town Council member Daniel Thompson asked whether the adults and children in the facility were separated.

von Poks said the adults and children will be separated at all times.

“It is a locked facility,” von Poks said. “We have locked units, and they are all under lock and key. The children will not intermingle with the adults at any time, any type of activity therapy, not in groups, not in the dining facility, not even in the main corridor. We realize that that is somewhat of an uncomfortable area for some people with children and adults in the same facility. However, I work at facilities like Poplar Springs … where adults and children lived on the same physical campus, but we are diligent about making sure they do not intermingle with each other.”