Drug center eyes Ridgewood site

JNS Counseling Services, Inc. told residents of Community Board 5 (CB) that it plans to open a substance abuse counseling site in their area.
“Everything will be funded by [JNS Brooklyn medical director] Dr. [Susan] Levit and myself,” program director Ertuania Jorge said to residents on Wednesday evening, October 13. “All we need at this point is your support.”
JNS will propose its plan to open the center, located at 752 Onderdonk Avenue in Ridgewood, to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). The site is currently occupied by a medical center that has been vacant for years.
“This is a community we want to serve because every other community has programs,” Jorge said. “There are currently programs in Forest Hills and Rego Park. In Queens, if you go to every single neighborhood they have a program. Ridgewood doesn’t have a program.”
CB 5 includes Ridgewood, Middle Village, Glendale, Maspeth, and Liberty Park.
JNS offers help to people affected by alcoholism and substance abuse, including prescription drug abuse. JNS’s center in Brooklyn received OASAS’s highest award just one year after it opened. The program maintains a strict use of prescription drugs when they are necessary in order to keep patients from becoming or staying addicted.
“Our program is mostly counseling, individual counseling [and] group counseling,” said Jorge.
“We are offering psychological and psychiatric counseling for people and families on their way out of addiction,” said JNS Brooklyn’s medical director, Dr. Susan Levit. “The fact that it’s located in a good area is very motivational.”
The program is outpatient based, according to Jorge. Jorge also said the program will be advertised via door-to-door visits, as well as visits to hospitals, churches and schools.
The center will have a school to train people who want to enter the counseling field. People with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology can obtain a job at the center.
The program is multilingual and will be offered in Spanish, Italian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Farsi and English.
Jorge said the program will help patients obtain their GED and will offer classes in multiple fields, including cooking and computer courses.
“We want to bring a multi-service approach when it comes to medicine,” Jorge said.
“Many people who undergo the treatment go to the school and eventually become a counselor,” Levit said. “They are the best example of the success of this program.”
“This issue is in deliberation. It will be taken up by the Health and Human Services Committee. They will meet on the evening of Wednesday, November 3,” said CB Chair Gary Giordano.

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