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'There was a total gap in services' | Residential substance use disorder treatment center opens in downtown Stockton

The 13-bed respite center will provide inpatient addiction treatment.

STOCKTON, Calif. — A new 13-bed respite center in downtown Stockton is aiming to help those facing substance use disorder. The ribbon was cut Thursday at the Stanislaus Street facility operated by Community Medical Centers.

The respite center, staffed 24 hours a day, features an 8-bed men's unit and a 5-bed women's unit. At the center, patients will detox for up to 14 days while receiving services including group and individual counseling and medical treatment.

"Our respite center is a combination of what we always do in all of our health centers, we provide medical care," said Christine Noguera, CEO of Community Medical Centers. "But it's also about treatment for substance use disorder and we are calling this a center with no wrong door; that people can come on their own, they can be referred, they can be brought by a family member."

The center has been open for outpatient care for several months, a service which will still be offered once the residential wing opens, Noguera says. Inpatient services are expected to begin within the next two weeks.

"We are going to meet (patients) with empathy and respect so that they can finally make that first move into treatment," Noguera said. "It gives a safe place to sober up and begin to have that conversation around are they ready, are they ready to start treatment? And with a very supportive group."

The new respite center is one of California's three substance use disorder treatment facilities that are operated by a Federally Qualified Health Center. 

According to Noguera, the center's services are much needed in the Stockton area as long-term substance use disorder treatment facilities often require patients to be sober for up to two weeks.

"There was a total gap in services," Noguera said. "This gives a good place to spend those two weeks with supportive staff. There's still group counseling, individual counseling, and medical treatment so it helps support them through really their toughest time of the treatment, the first two weeks."

The center is partially funded by money from the California Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, the Homeless Emergency Aid Program, and from San Joaquin County Behavioral Health Services.

Part of the goal of the center will be to provide services to unsheltered homeless people in San Joaquin County, 33% of whom report a problem with substance abuse, according to a report released by the county Wednesday

"We're just really excited with the turnout today," Noguera said shortly after Stockton's mayor cut the ribbon Thursday, opening the facility. "There is obviously a real knowledge of the needs of these services."

Watch More from ABC10: Stockton's San Joaquin RTD offering week-long free trial

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