Substance abuse program reopens Kealakekua office

People seeking treatment for addiction in West Hawaii have another option again.

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People seeking treatment for addiction in West Hawaii have another option again.

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council is reopening its Kealakekua office next month, 18 months after it closed that site and one in Waimea.

Dr. Katherine May, the behavioral health care manager, who is overseeing the program in West Hawaii, said the office began taking referrals for assessments on Wednesday.

“The feedback from the community has been really positive,” May said. “It feels good to be back.”

BISAC is just one of several resources for people with substance abuse problems, May said, and she appreciates how the various agencies and groups work together collaboratively, helping each other find the right program and treatment plan for their clients.

“It isn’t just BISAC that makes a change on its own,” she said. “It’s important for us all to be available for all clients. The key thing is access is as easy as possible.”

BISAC will continue to offer free assessments. The intensive outpatient program in West Hawaii is available to adults. Those who need residential services may be referred to East Hawaii programs, where there is housing for women, including women with children, and men.

“Here, we work with the individual to make positive changes,” May said. Even if drugs are available in the community, BISAC works to help people change themselves so they don’t return to using drugs, she added.

BISAC closed the Kona and Waimea office last year following a significant funding cut. May said the closure gave the organization time to “figure out how to work in a slightly different way.”

The organization is now working more with insurance companies to get reimbursement for services, she said.

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The Kona office will be open full time, with a handful of staff members, she added.

BISAC’s Kona office is located in Kealakekua, across Halekii Street from Big Island Drug Court. The phone number is 322-3100.

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