Serenity at Summit Renovating Vacant Riverside Nursing Home, Adding 20 Drug Treatment Beds

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Serenity Addiction Counselor Charles Manzi, Serenity Executive Director Eric Ekberg and City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua. (Courtesy photograph.)

The 41-bed Serenity at Summit holistic care detox and residential center in Riverside is adding 20 beds—a moved hailed by local officials as a critical step toward containing the opioid epidemic.

Contractors are already on site at the former city-owned Glynn Memorial Nursing Home, 61 Brown St., off Lincoln Avenue. Executive Director Eric Ekberg said plans call adding beds to the existing treatment program with one floor dedicated to outpatient services.

“It’s touching everyone and people need treatment. The evidence tells us the more we have intervention, to get them in a stable environment, the better,” he said, adding, there are as many people involved as with the person who suffers from it. They need to be part of the team to get the person well and the outcomes will be better.”

Serenity at Summit is renovating the adjacent oldest surviving part of the Glynn, a vacant, four-story brick building. Ekberg said BKA Architects of Boston has prepared designs and Pimentel Construction of Wilmington is undertaking the renovations. The addition is expected to open this summer.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini recently toured the center and concluded Serenity is doing “a great job.” Economic and Planning Director William Pillsbury noted the property’s former use as a nursing home and its proximity to Holy Family Hospital and a medical office building. He told WHAV Serenity’s plan is a “fitting reuse of that building,” adding, “It fits well with the commercial medical district.”

Currently, Serenity at Summit accepts private pay and commercial insurance, but Ekberg said his firm is negotiating to accept MassHealth for at least some number of patients.

“Services are soup to nuts, beginning with detox five to seven days on average, but detox is not treatment. It’s literally come in and get medically supervised detox and then move to clinical stabilization service for at least three weeks. Further treatment depends on whether it is a day program or outpatient scenario,” he explained.

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