Horizons Counseling and Education Center, the Town of Smithtown’s home for drug and alcohol problem prevention and education, has moved to 161 East Main Street, the former home to .
The move gives its staff the ability to perform all services under one roof, something it has not been able to do.
"We were doing a lot of our programming in other locations wherever we could find a spot because we didn't have any space to provide services, we were limited," said Elaine Economopoulos, director of drug and alcohol services. "We're not growing, we just now can maximize our potential."
The center was in the Devine Building prior to the move, the same building that is the home to the , and .
Horizons, open in 1979, receives money through the town funded by Suffolk County. The counseling and education center provides drug and substance abuse counseling, education and recovery services, has nurse consultants regularly in-house for medical assessments and physicals, and also has a physician on staff to provide care for any possible medical issues before patients receive any services.
At Horizons, town residents with drug and alcohol problems get priority with their needs, but help is not exclusive to town residents.
The town council approved two items on the agenda for the town board meeting Tuesday relating to Horizons, one approving the renovations made to the new facility. Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said following the meeting that the town received roughly $3.5 million from the state for the building with about $1.5 million of that specifically for renovations.
"When the town purchased this location ... most of it was set up for retail, there were no offices, just a big open space," said Economopoulos. "When the building was acquired hey needed to renovate it and make it more of an office."
According to Economopoulos, the town was initially looking to rent a building within the township to house all programs and services but decided to purchase the former golf store due to the high costs of renovating a building the town won’t own.
Economopoulos, who started as a clinical supervisor and became director of Horizons in 1984, said the center is a community asset.
"I'm here 33 years, I believe in what I do with my whole heart,” she said. “I see the difference it makes, we watch how it changes lives. I think it's a major asset to the community, I think it's a major asset to the people who are in need of services."
Horizons is set to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at the facility at noon on Sept. 20.
Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone everyday with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.