Open Door moves to convenient location Clients can take bus to center on Crain Highway

September 27, 1995|By CONSELLA A. LEE | CONSELLA A. LEE,SUN STAFF

The Open Door drug treatment center is easier to reach, now that it is in a new location on Crain Highway, along the No. 14 bus route.

"You've got to go where people can get to you," said Dr. Steven R. Katkowsky, director of Anne Arundel County's Division of Mental Health & Addictions.

The center opened at its new address, 407 Crain Highway, on Monday. It offers outpatient treatment for drug addiction and counseling.

The move consolidates services, meaning adults no longer have to go to the old center in an industrial park on North Langley Road and children don't have to go to a center housed at the Arundel Center North building.

"We're trying to give families a comfortable place to go instead of having to travel to different sites in the county for services," said Maren P. Hagberg, a licensed certified social worker who also is acting director of addiction services.

The county health department, which is leasing the second floor of the Steffey Building, has put in separate areas for children and adults.

Some clients use the center for individual, group or family counseling. Others want tips on how to remain drug free, or on their methadone treatments. The health department is the county's sole methadone provider and has been administering the synthetic drug for 20 years.

"The old notion used to be that everybody who was a drug abuser was a 19-year-old high school dropout. But now it's housewives and business-men and -women," said Dr. Katkowsky. "It really runs the gamut. It's not the old picture you used to see or how it was portrayed."

Dr. Katkowsky said Open Door treats about 400 people a year in the Glen Burnie area. Most are either on methadone or fighting to stay drug free. The rest are children. Clients pay for services based on a sliding fee scale.

Those who use Open Door's programs often are referred through schools, doctors or other clinics. They are encouraged to finish or continue their education and look for work.

"We want to somehow make them salable in the job market," said Dr. Katkowsky. But, he added, it is not a condition for treatment. "It becomes a goal of therapy, not a condition of acceptance. Some of these people have had very few successes in their lives," he said.

Some participants may be in treatment for years, others perhaps only a few weeks.

The center's hours are flexible. Sometimes it stays open until 8 p.m. or later, and it's open a few hours Saturday mornings to dispense methadone.

"We want it to be as least disruptive as possible," Dr. Katkowsky said. "We try to tailor it to what we think the client community needs."

A staff of about 40, including physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists and support staff, run the center. Dr. Katkowsky said patients come for treatment, not to "congregate and hang out."

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