Why addiction treatment center chose downtown Naperville

A drug and alcohol addiction treatment center launched Tuesday in downtown Naperville with all the fanfare of any other business opening.

A ribbon cutting. Brief remarks by the mayor and chamber of commerce. City council members in the crowd. Catered food.

The normalcy of the scene symbolized much for employees and supporters of Banyan Treatment Center, which will begin taking patients Thursday at 50 S. Main St. suite 290.

The center not only will provide group counseling for people struggling with drugs and/or alcohol and for their families, it also will strive to start more conversations - normal conversations - about the disease of addiction, leaders say.

Suzette Papadakis, clinical director, said the facility sought a downtown Naperville location to create more visibility for the work of long-term recovery from addiction.

"We're in the heart of downtown for a reason," Papadakis said. "This disease occurs everywhere."

The space offers three treatment rooms where people working to overcome addiction will meet in groups of 10 with clinicians who have master's degrees. Its office is above new shops in the Main Street Promenade East, such as Anthropologie and J. Crew - a far cry from the hospital setting many associate with drug and alcohol treatment.

"You can go get a coffee and come to treatment," Papadakis said.

Anyone receiving treatment at Banyan will be there voluntarily, not because of a court order, staff members said. The facility will accept private insurance but won't be allowed to accept state-provided insurance until it has been open for at least two years, Papadakis said.

Some patients in Naperville will be receiving intensive outpatient care after graduating from Banyan's residential treatment program in Florida, said Taylor Glenn, a Lake Zurich native and Stevenson High School graduate who works as Banyan's director of business development.

He, like many Banyan staff members, is in sobriety after struggling with drug addiction. He said addiction is discussed more openly and with less stigma in Florida, and he aims to bring that dialogue to the Midwest as the Naperville facility opens.

"It's not talked about as much here," Glenn said about addiction problems. "You get a lot of the 'Not my family; not my child.'"

Naperville officials in attendance including police and nonprofit leaders said they welcome the new treatment option.

"Now more than ever we need something just like this, and I know families in our community are grateful to have you," said Nicki Anderson, president and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Tim Ryan, founder of A Man In Recovery Foundation, helped bring the Banyan facility to Naperville when he connected with Glenn after the death of his 20-year-old son to a heroin overdose last year.

"Our dream is to help the people that are out there struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction," Ryan said.

A recent study by the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University found Illinois had the biggest drop over five years in available heroin treatment slots as public funding for treatment fell 30 percent by 2012.

Adding one treatment facility in Naperville won't plug the entire treatment gap, but it will offer more options and provide more visibility for services that promote recovery, Banyan leaders said.

"This is a recognition for the Naperville community that it's OK to get help," Papadakis said. "It's normal. It's what we want people to do."

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  The opening Tuesday of Banyan Treatment Center in Naperville brings a drug and alcohol recovery services option to the city's downtown, which leaders hope will normalize the idea of seeking help to overcome addiction. Marie Wilson/
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