KEARNEYSVILLE, W.Va. — Officials hope a facility under construction in the eastern panhandle will help the fight the heroin and opioid epidemic.

A now-empty building at 3094 Charles Town Road near the Martinsburg VA Medical Center will soon house a 50-bed, 29,600 square foot in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation facility. A Friday open house of what will be known as Mountaineer Recovery Center let local and state officials view construction on the $4 million project.

U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., said the drug epidemic plaguing West Virginia is a daily discussion topic at the nation’s capital.

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U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va.

“I’ll start off meetings in DC oftentimes talking about real estate, banking, education or some other issue. But before you know it, we’re talking about drug abuse and addiction issues. Because it’s affected the lives of the people I’m meeting with (and) it affects workforce issues of people being able to pass drug tests so they can take a job. These issues come up a lot. There’s no easy solution or we would’ve done it by now. This type of an issue takes an all-of-the-above approach.”

Mountaineer Behavioral Health of Martinsburg will run the facility. Director Dr. Jonathan Hartiens said the word “hope” will be instrumental in their programs. Amenities will include single and double inpatient rooms, a dining hall, garden and plenty of space for group and individual therapy.

“We want to make sure when they walk in through these doors, that the place instills hope. And that change is possible no matter how deep the hole has been that they’ve fallen into.”

Funding for the facility came almost entirely from the Ryan Brown Grant through the Department of Health and Human Resources. The $20.8 million grant was distributed through nine drug addiction programs across West Virginia, including Mountaineer.

The Ryan Brown grant was initiated by Cece Brown after her son, Ryan, overdosed in a bathroom at the Charleston Town Center Mall in April of 2014, days before he was scheduled to leave for treatment. The fund was created under a law passed in 2017 that is meant to assist in the allocation of additional treatments beds in the state.

Hartiens said Cece Brown was grateful to hear about the new Mountaineer Recovery Center, knowing it would give others a chance to turn their lives around.

“We want patients to not just live clean and learn how to get sober, but learn how to live differently,” Hartiens added. “Some of them, during their initial assessment, may realize they need some vocational training. We will tailor some of our treatment around that. Some of them may need to be doing job interviews, or work on money management. Some of them may need family counseling or couples counseling. So we want to make sure when they leave here, they go out and live differently.”

Architect George Harne of Myersville, Md. designed the re-developed building. Minghini’s General Contractors of Martinsburg will complete the construction.

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