ROCKVILLE, Md. — Cheers and applause broke out as one public official after another took up a shovelful of dirt and tossed it for the cameras.
It was part of the groundbreaking for Montgomery County’s new $15 million drug and alcohol treatment center at Avery Road in Rockville. The event took place in front of the current facility, which dates back to 1991.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who announced early in his administration that he would treat the opioid addiction crisis as a health emergency, was among those celebrating the partnership to fund the new 64-bed facility.
“We want to do everything in our power to help restore hope and to put those in need on a path toward healing and recovery,” Hogan said.
“Once complete, this Avery Road treatment center will provide the tailored treatment options, the safe haven and the second chance that so many of our citizens desperately need,” he said.
Montgomery County Council member George Leventhal said the deteriorating conditions in the current facility were not conducive to getting people into residential treatment.
“You had ceiling tiles coming down; you had wild animals wandering into the facility from holes in the walls,” Leventhal said.
Uma Ahluwalia, director of the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, pointed to the roof on the building behind her and said, “You can still see the blue tarp up there to keep the water off.”
Referring to the new building, expected to be finished in early 2020, she said, “This building could not come soon enough for all of us.”
Rebecca Fishman is with the Potomac Healthcare Foundation, a partner in the new Avery Road Treatment Center.
“In this time, when we are surrounded by so much hate, we must embrace every opportunity to do good, to show kindness and to give care,” Fishman said.