Harlem’s Pillars Recovery Center The First Addiction Recovery Center Opens (Video)

City and State officials celebrated the opening of Harlem’s first center for substance abuse recovery Tuesday afternoon.

The new Pillars Recovery Center on 289 St. Nicholas Avenue near West 125th Street will help people maintain sobriety after drug addiction treatment through services such as support and educational groups and 12-step programs, officials said Tuesday.

The program was created by Harlem resident Felecia Pullen. The Fordham News reports that Pullen is a doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Social Service researching how addiction affects her Harlem neighborhood. She is the president of Let’s Talk SAFETY, Inc., a not-for-profit dedicated to substance abuse prevention for teens and youth. And she is the chief operating officer of The PILLARS, a recovery center in the heart of Harlem.

Here’s a video about the program by Pullen:

“One you’re through with treatment you need that support in the community,” New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said Tuesday. “Only places like this will support people in sobriety for a long time.”

In addition to recovery services, the Pillars center will provide skill and employment training and wellness and recreational activities such as dance and yoga. The center is a non-clinical environment, which means it will not be equipped to perform drug treatment services, but the center will refer people to organizations that do.

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The Pillars Recovery Center will be open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, officials said.

With the opening of the Harlem center Tuesday, each of the city’s five boroughs now has a Pillars Recovery Center, González-Sánchez said. The number of centers has risen in every part of the state in recent years. Just two years ago there were only three recovery centers in the entire state, González-Sánchez said.

The opening of holistic recovery centers like Pillars represents a “decades overdue reversal” in how New York approaches drug addiction, State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said Tuesday.

“What we are finally seeing is an embrace of addiction as a medical condition demanding holistic and continued treatment,” Rosenthal, who chairs the assembly committee on alcoholism and drug abuse, said Tuesday.

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