DYA home turned over to GBHWC substance abuse recovery program

Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center Director Theresa Arriola (PNC file photo)

The government has identified a home for Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center’s substance abuse recovery program bed expansion plan.

During the Homeless Interagency meeting Thursday morning, Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio confirmed that one of the cottage homes at the Department of Youth Affairs has been identified as a potential site for the expansion of GBHWC’s drug and alcohol recovery program.

The cottage home has not been used since 2016. The government will now transfer the underutilized property to Behavioral Health

GBHWC Director Theresa Arriola says the program expansion was made possible through the legislature’s funding approval.

“In this FY 21 budget, there was an increase in GBHWC in the portion that is separated out from our operational budget for drug and alcohol treatment beds. I believe that there was a bump up of $250,000 and that will go through the renewal process with Sanctuary and OASIS Lighthouse Recovery. That money will be used for additional beds and for operations for those additional beds,” Arriola said.

But Arriola says more than the approval of the program expansion, the agency is facing other challenges, in particular the hiring of people who will actually run the program.

“We are having some recruitment issues, we are having difficulties getting people attracted to become chemical dependency specialists…to be psychiatric technicians…because these programs are 24 hours,” Arriola said.

Tenorio also announced during the meeting that GCC is opening a training program in April for certified drug and alcohol counselors which do not require applicants to have a psychology degree.

Arriola says interested applicants may seek support from GBHWC and they will gladly pay for tuition and testing fees. Those who successfully graduate from the program could find employment in their expansion program.