Drug treatment program to open Crownsville center

July 14, 1992|By Staff report

Chrysalis House, one of the few rehabilitation programs in Maryland to treat pregnant women hooked on drugs, is expanding its services with a new 33-bed center in Crownsville.

Unable to grow in Pasadena, the program has purchased six acres off Crownsville Road, behind Crownsville State Hospital, for a bigger facility. One wing in the new center will be reserved for pregnant women and women with young children.

"Our hope is to stop the cycle of addiction," said Carole Baker, head of the Anne Arundel County chapter of United Way and president of the Chrysalis House board of directors. "What became apparent to us is, for many women, the care of their children is a real big issue, and it interferes with their recovery."

Chrysalis House currently admits pregnant women, but not families. Many single mothers are reluctant to seek treatment because they can't find a relative or friend to care for their children and don't want to shunt them off to a foster home, Ms. Baker said.

Last year, Chrysalis House raised $1.4 million and made plans to expand its base on Jumpers Hole Road to admit mothers with children. But the expansion was delayed by concern over state budget cuts and then shelved because of inadequate sewer service, Ms. Baker said.

The 6-year-old program scouted around for a new home and settled on Crownsville. The 10-bed program in Pasadena will be folded into the new center when it opens, possibly as early as next year.

Chrysalis House opened in 1986 as a model drug and alcohol treatment program for women. Addicted women spend up to a year in the residential center and receive job training.

fTC "This is going to be the first one on the East Coast to get children really involved," Ms. Baker said. "We're going to have parenting classes and try to educate children from early on about the dangers of drugs and alcohol so they won't get caught up in the same addictive pattern."

The expansion is being financed with a low-interest state loan of $974,000 and contributions from the private sector and United Way.

Chrysalis House was one of 23 halfway houses and live-in treatment centers that received dramatic cuts in state aid last December. Faced with a $7 million cut in its budget for alcohol and drug treatment, the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene eliminated most aid to long-term programs.

Anne Arundel County restored assistance to three of the county's four long-term programs, including Chrysalis House. But the budget cuts taught Chrysalis House a sharp lesson, Ms. Baker said. The program is restructuring its finances and hopes to be completely independent of state aid within 18 months.

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