Drug addicts looking for their next fix aren’t usually putting their medical needs first.
So when they check into the TROSA recovery program they tend to have a long list of health problems and often no insurance, says nurse practitioner Kristi Giemza. Those needs can include illnesses, chronic conditions and mental health issues.
“Sometimes at the beginning, they are being seen a lot,” Giemza said.
To help, TROSA – Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers – plans to construct a $2.6 million building to expand and consolidate its health-care services in a two-story, 10,000 square-foot building.
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Patients now pack TROSA’s three-exam room primary care clinic, said Kevin McDonald, TROSA’s founder and chief executive officer. The cramped quarters raises privacy concerns, he said.
When Giemza refers people to mental health services, counselors and psychiatrists, they have to visit another building.
TROSA has raised $2.1 million to build the Comprehensive Care Center and is now asking the public for the final $500,000.
“This is the first time we are appealing to the public for a capital campaign for a brand-new facility to keep pace with the growth of our resident population,” said Kristin Pearson, director of development.
TROSA plans to break ground on the building Oct. 13 and open it next summer.
The building will house the TROSA program’s admission department, which received 2,000 applications last year. It will also include a medical clinic with six to eight exam rooms, along with space for psychiatrists, counselors and intake services.
Physical and mental health care are essential components in the recovery process, McDonald and others said.
Charlene Parker moved onto the TROSA campus from Charlotte in 2013. The certified medical assistant hadn’t worked in six years and was addicted to opioids, taking 12 to 15 prescription pills a day.
Parker, 49, turned to TROSA’s clinic to help with arthritis in her hip and high blood pressure. Psychiatrists and counselors also helped her work through traumatic experiences her family never talked about, she said, such as being raped at 16 and almost being abducted from a horse racing track when she was 5.
“I was up front and honest, and, luckily, I was able to work through all the issues that I never dealt with before,” said Parker, now a TROSA employee. “So I am finally complete with my past. Now I don’t desire to use to numb those feelings.”
The increasing abuse of opioids, heroin, prescription pain relievers oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl and others, compounds the need, McDonald said.
More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Of the 47,055 deaths, more than six out of 10 involved an opioid.
Since 2012, TROSA’s enrollment has grown from a daily average of 360 residents to 500. Residents live on the main campus and on properties across Durham. McDonald linked the increase to opioid abuse and younger users.
Founded in 1994, the two-year recovery program if free of charge. Vocational training is a key part of the structured program that provides commercial services, such as moving and storage, lawn care, Christmas tree sales and thrift stores.
In 2015, TROSA received nearly $5.9 million in contributions and grants. About $4 million of that was in-kind donations. TROSA also raised nearly $9.7 million in program service revenue, according to its 990 form, a required tax form that provides financial information about nonprofits. McDonald was paid $188,028.
While the the budget may look big, TROSA needs the money to provide services, McDonald said.
“When you have 500 people, a small staff of 60, and you are taking care of people 24-7 and running vocational training and evidence-based therapy and groups and things like that you need that (funding),” he said. “Our budget is lean and mean actually for what we do.”
For more information
For more information about TROSA or its Comprehensive Care Center, contact Kristin Pearson at 919-419-1059, ext. 1284 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, check out its website http://www.trosainc.org/