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Women's Recovery Center of Cleveland Expands Patient Services, Plans for the Future

photo of Lisa Ortiz
Lisa Ortiz says the Women's Recovery Center has helped her with art therapy. She enjoys drawing eyes since it makes her reflect on her life.

The Women’s Recovery Center in Cleveland is expanding its services as more and more patients from Cuyahoga, Lorain and Medina Counties struggle with opioid addiction.

The center’s million-dollar expansion has increased patient capacity by 75 percent, and they’re also planning to offer on-site detox, five days a week.

The center is located in a non-descript strip mall -- once a large convenience store -- not far from the Cleveland Zoo. Lisa Ortiz comes by a few times a week for classes to help maintain her sobriety. The mother of four has been heroin-free for three years, and uses art therapy, which she describes as, “calm, relaxed, happy – I love doing it.”

The lifelong Clevelander proudly displays a heart-shaped collage she made with her classmates.

“We rolled some magazine pages up and we stick it on the heart and make things with it [such as] the sun [or] the ocean,” she says.

Ortiz is among the 60 percent of patients at the center who are there for opioid abuse.

Added capacity
Mary Jane Chichester, executive director of the center, says previously there were waiting lists of up to four weeks. Now, she says they can offer some services that are become harder to get as the number of beds at inpatient centers decreases.

“We actually are starting what’s called a ‘non-medical detox’ to be able to address having women come here and detox on-site, five days per week," says Chichester. "And so we can work with them on making sure that they get proper nutrition, hydration, art therapy, case management [and] those kinds of things.”

Chichester adds that she’s already planning for $200,000 in exterior improvements to the building, including lighting upgrades, fencing, and a playground for patients under 12.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.