Serenity Mesa plans to open detox center for teens struggling with addiction
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Leaders at Serenity Mesa Youth Recovery Center say a lack of detox options for teens is a substantial problem. They are opening a detox center on their campus in the South Valley to address that.
Serenity Mesa is a place for teens and young adults to recover from drug and alcohol addiction. They offer a 90-day inpatient treatment program and housing for people between the ages of 14 and 21.
“We see kids come in here, 14 years old, that are addicted to fentanyl,” said Jennifer Burke, the nonprofit’s executive director. “They should be in high school, playing sports, doing regular kid stuff.”
Burke says they have had to turn people away if they haven’t gone through the detox process yet.
“We ask them to be three days sober, which for some, is really difficult,” Burke said. “It’s hard because we don’t have medical staff here.”
The new detox center will remove that barrier. Burke says it will have six beds and medical care around the clock, with six nurses and a part-time medical director.
“We’re trying to make it as comfortable as possible, I don’t want it to have a hospital feel,” Burke said. “I don’t want them to feel like they’re detoxing in a cold, hospital-like environment.”
Burke says the hospital is one of the only detox options for people under the age of 18. She says there is outpatient treatment, but it’s not accessible for everyone. Other than that, it’s the emergency room.
“The first stages of withdrawal are so painful and so difficult,” Burke said. “If they sit in the ER for 12 hours, the likelihood of them actually staying until they see someone is very low.”
Burke says once the teen gets through the detox, they will transition into the 90-day treatment program.
The detox center should be finished by the end of February. Burke says it will take a couple more months to get licensing from the state, but they hope to be serving youth by summer.