Joel Robert announced an agreement in principle to bring the first substance abuse treatment facility to Ascension Parish. Projected to be an 80-bed facility, it will be located at the former campus of River Parishes Community College on John LeBlanc Blvd in Sorrento. Certain of the details are being hammered out but the center could be open and fully functional by mid-2020.
Early in 2019 Robert shared his story of opioid abuse upon hearing the news that Prevost Hospital in Donaldsonville would be converting part of its campus to a detox facility.
Robert is, by nature, a man of action who had committed himself to the pursuit of solutions to the “substance abuse problem” in Ascension Parish. The “incredible response of empathy and understanding” spurred him to redouble those efforts.
Seeking direction, Robert reached out to Prevost’s administrator Vince Cataldo. That was nearly eight months ago.
“How could I help? What could I do?” Robert recounted the initial meeting. “I’m very encouraged by what Mr. Cataldo and Prevost is doing and I promised, as a candidate for parish council I committed to supporting those efforts, mental health and recovery from addiction, but that’s only if I were to be elected.”
But Joel Robert is not one to take a wait and see approach. Seeking answers, and avenues to serve, the nascent candidate broadened his search. Robert initiated a regular dialogue with Akayla Galloway, the Opioid Outreach Coordinator for Louisiana Department of Health, Region 2.
“What I found was a lack of communication, a lack of coordination between state and local agencies. That is something I will work to fix should I be elected,” he vowed.
Unwilling to wait or rely on the vagaries of the electoral process, Robert was compelled to act.
“Addiction, especially opioid addiction, is such a serious problem affecting so many of our citizens in Ascension every day,” he explained. “Substance abuse threatens to destroy families, something I know first-hand having gone through its torments myself.”
That is why Joel Robert commenced negotiations to bring a substance abuse treatment center to the parish. Those negotiations centered around the former campus of River Parishes Community College in Sorrento, property which the Robert family happens to own.
“I am not at liberty to divulge our corporate partner’s identity just yet, but the agreement is with a national healthcare provider specializing in addiction treatment,” an excited Robert said. “They have the experience and knowledge to set up and offer a variety of programs to help those suffering from substance abuse and we expect to have those programs up and running by mid-2020.”