New addiction recovery center opens in Fairfax

Executive director Shelly Young poses with the Atwood family at the grand opening of the new addiction recovery center in Fairfax, Virginia. (WTOP/Matt Kaufax)
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, the new addiction recovery center opened in Fairfax City. (WTOP/Matt Kaufax)
Photos of 21-year-old Christopher Atwood cover the walls of the addiction recovery center. (WTOP/Matt Kaufax)
It has been 10 years since the passing of Christopher Atwood. This eventgoer wears a T-shirt bearing the foundation named after him. (WTOP/Matt Kaufax)
The new addiction recovery center is a little bigger than 6,700-square-feet. (WTOP/Matt Kaufax)

Recent studies have found that among Northern Virginia residents, addiction is becoming a bigger issue.

Community members in Fairfax, Virginia, say they’re trying to do something about that — starting with a brand new recovery center opening just outside the heart of downtown.

With a ribbon cutting held Friday, the city’s new 6,700-square-feet addiction recovery center run by the Chris Atwood Foundation stands to help those in the community fighting the disease and looking for resources, particularly low-income families.

“Our center is for the whole family, not just the individual,” said executive director Shelly Young. “Family members can be the most influential people in the lives of individuals suffering from substance abuse or mental health conditions.”

Young has been working with Anthem HealthKeepers Plus and the Chris Atwood Foundation to make its opening possible.

She and the Atwood family of Herndon, who lost their son Christopher to an accidental overdose at the age of 21 in 2013, say this mission is deeply personal. All around the office, pictures of Chris’ smiling face can be seen — a reminder of the cost of addiction.

Young said the Atwood family has been integral in getting the center open and the uniquely personal touch extends to their employees.

“Everyone who works here has been there,” Young said, “Whether it’s in active use, as a family member, or someone with a mental health condition.”

Through thousands in grant funds and other resources, the center is able to offer free treatment that extends beyond addiction and offers people paths to get back on their feet.

“We help people with employment opportunities, we also have housing scholarships,” Young said. “We’re happy to be able to offer these resources to everyone in our community, especially if they’ve been searching already.”

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Matt Kaufax

If there's an off-the-beaten-path type of attraction, person, or phenomenon in the DC area that you think more people should know about, Matt is your guy. As the features reporter for WTOP, he's always on the hunt for stories that provide a unique local flavor—a slice of life if you will.

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