Onala Restoration Middle’s Mission to Assist Folks Reclaim their Lives – CBS Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – What started as an old truck repair shop is now a recreation center that helps thousands overcome their drug or alochol addiction.
The Onala Recovery Center has been around since 1952 and is constantly expanding to help people get their lives back.
“This place really changed my life,” said Jennifer Bloodworth, the center’s director.
Bloodworth hopes to save others.
Bloodworth’s drug and alcohol addiction led her to the Onala Recovery Center in 2010. “Finding a place where I couldn’t feel alone was a turning point,” said Bloodworth.
The center was also a safe haven for Dennis Regan in 1978 when it was just a social club for Alcoholics Anonymous.
“I’ve been able to socialize or interact with people who have been sober for years and those are the people who led me to what I found today,” said Regan, who is now the center’s director is.
“I know what it did for me and I know what it can do for others,” Regan said.
Bloodworth says especially at a time when overdose deaths are rising again. “We’re seeing more and more fentanyl associated with amphetamine, upper, or cocaine, and that’s very risky when you have people who are causal cocaine users or casual drug users,” Bloodworth said. “You have no tolerance for opioids.”
According to Allegheny County’s overdose dashboard, there were 688 overdose deaths in 2020, with 86% related to fentanyl in Allegheny County. That is the highest value since 2017.
There have been 401 overdose deaths to date this year, with 88% related to fentanyl.
“I’ve seen an increase in relapses here in people who have long-term sobriety, but I’ve also seen an increase in new additions, especially among young people,” said Bloodworth.
The center offers a variety of services including recovery meetings, narcan training, recovery specialists, rehab referrals, and even free food on Wednesdays.
“We have 52 meetings a week,” said Regan. “Last month we had 4,600 people who came to our facility in one month.”
“We’re here and it’s free,” said Bloodworth. “You just walk in and that’s what I really love about this place.”
“It can help anyone,” said Regan. “And it can be positive. What a life. Life should be celebrated. I owe everything to my recovery. “
Regan says they are in the process of renovating the center.
The center is hosting its first community overdose and narcan training for workers in the food industry.
It’s on Monday from 2-4pm at the Thunderbird Café and Music Hall in Lawrenceville.
You can come by or register in advance.