News : New Addiction Recovery Call Center to be Opened on Cranberry Highway
Wareham, MA, USA, May 19, 2015 -- After they found a mutual friend dead of a heroin overdose in his home, Tiffany Jonas and John Coughlin decided it was time to do something more.
"I’m tired of losing people to addiction," said Jonas, herself a recovering addict since 2008. "I would say, just the past year, [I’ve lost] eight to 10 [people], and that’s just off the top of my head."
In the wake of their friend’s death, Jonas said, she and Coughlin decided to start a new 24-hour call center, located on Cranberry Highway. Jonas is the program director at Gianna’s House, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides separate housing for men and women in need of a structured and sober living environment, started by Coughlin. Gianna's House operates two "sober houses" on Main Street in Wareham. The men’s house has 15 beds, and the women’s has 10.
Jonas said the new center will operate a bit differently from Gianna’s House. Unlike the house, the center will be open 24 hours per day, and will be a middleman through which recovering addicts in need can get help.
"People can call, if they need treatment, and we can direct them where to go," Jonas said. "Therapy services and intervention will also be provided."
Jonas said the center would start out small, with only about four to six people on staff, but add to the staff as needed. She said she hopes the new center will help put recovering addicts in touch with more sympathetic medical personnel.
"I would said, as a whole, in my experience, more doctors than not are judgemental," Jonas said of her experiences with medical staff.
Jonas also said she believes most people have a very stereotypical view of a heroin addict.
"They think of people homeless, living on the street, dirty, strung out -- but that’s not what we all are," Jonas said. "They don’t know a heroin addict could be a co-worker."
Coughlin and Gianna’s House have been a source of controversy, in the past. In 2011, Coughlin and his father rented a vacant inn from Antonio Gomes on South Boulevard, and began rehabilitating it into a sober home for addicts. Onset residents voiced concerns over the inn’s new purpose, saying they worried how the house would affect the neighborhood. During renovations, the inn burned down in a four-alarm fire ruled an accident. No one was injured.
Coughlin did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, May 25, 2015