A New Start for those in need

RHD’s New Start II program is expanding services to transition into a withdrawal management program as part of Philadelphia Community Behavioral Health’s effort to combat the opioid epidemic.

“We want to be one of the pillars of this change and supporting those individuals who are suffering and dying from opioid addiction,” said New Start II Director Tajuana Evans. “We know how important continuity of care is. The hope is with the pilot withdrawal management program, we take people off the streets, put them into the New Start II program, work to withdraw them from opioids and then move them right into our regular program. There won’t be any gaps in treatment.”

RHD’s New Start II at Jackson Street is a long-term residential treatment facility that provides intensive drug and alcohol treatment and mental health support services to men who are experiencing chronic homelessness. The program treatment design is an individualized level system, assisting residents in establishing psychosocial supports necessary for independent living.

“What we don’t want is someone getting support with withdrawal symptoms, but then going back out onto the street,” Evans said. “If a program like ours exists and we’re able to expand, you medically withdraw them and then you move them right into the support, treatment and education found in New Start II. The end goal is that you can reintegrate, be sober, be clean and be off the streets.”

RHD New Start II recognizes there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to addiction recovery, and offers a variety of innovative person-centered and person-directed recovery plans that take into account where our clients are in their unique stages of readiness to begin their recovery process. RHD’s philosophy of care coordination meets the needs of program participants in a recovery-oriented environment dedicated to healing, wellness and choice.

“I’m at New Start II because I figured if I was around a good environment, I could get my drug problem under control,” said Marcus, a New Start II client. This program is awesome. I love every aspect of it. With the help of New Start II, I hope to maintain my sobriety and get an apartment at the end. It really is a lovely program in every way.”

“RHD New Start II is designed around mental health and addiction recovery, and serves individuals who are chronically homeless,” Evans said. “We are a project under the umbrella of the Philadelphia initiative to get the chronically homeless off the streets and into stable housing.

“We meet people where they are. Everybody’s treatment is individualized and person-centered.”

The individuals at New Start II are chronically homeless, so the program provides a diverse array of supports.

“I’ve been in a lot of other programs, and this is the nicest,” said Devin, a New Start II client. “Treatment is great. The staff cares about you. You have freedom here, but it’s structured, too. You aren’t another number to them. It’s a good place to come to.”

In addition to the clinical aspect of drug and alcohol treatment, New Start II works to teach life skills and social skills on many different levels. A nursing staff offers support with health issues, along with a drug and alcohol coordinator that provides them with budgeting, getting reconnected with community-based activities, and getting reconnected with community support.

“We make our participants feel comfortable and feel like they are at home,” Evans said. “We provide the services that are going to help them be as successful as they can when they leave the program and integrate back in the community. We provide them the tools necessary to sustain and to be successful in their ongoing journey. That is always our goal.”

New Start II houses up to 16 individuals, and offers an intimate treatment setting that provides each participant unique freedom for individual programming and the opportunity to develop personal interests. RHD founded New Start II in 1999 to provide intensive drug and alcohol treatment in addition to mental health support services.

“My experience here has been good – they believe in the clients,” said Jarred, a New Start II client. “They help you out and make you feel comfortable. I am very happy with the program. It’s a safe place. It’s comfortable. If you’re really trying to be in recovery, you can do it here.”

“New Start II staff teaches me how to deal with life challenges in a positive way,” said Glenn. “The staff here don’t just come to work, they come each day to save a life – my life!”