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Metro Drug Coalition starts renovations for city's first recovery community center

Leaders said the facility will be a space where people can feel connected to the community, and it will offer daily access to resources for anyone seeking recovery.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knoxville's first recovery community center is on its way to being opened after the Metro Drug Coalition formally started renovations on Wednesday.

Leaders said that The Gateway Recovery Community Center will offer daily access to resources for anyone seeking recovery, no matter their situation. It is also meant to be a place where people can feel connected to the community.

Most of all, they said it will help prevent some future overdose deaths in Knoxville.

Webster Bailey, the president of the MDC, said that the group bought the building in December 2019 at a discounted price so that it would be used for the benefit of the Knoxville community.

"I cannot tell you how important human connection is for the recovery process," he said. "Tragically that fact was reinforced in 2020 when we saw a 41% increase in overdose deaths, and much of that increase, we believe, was due to the separation and isolation that took place in the community due to the pandemic."

He also said that the Knox County government committed $875,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act to the MDC campaign. In total, organizers said they raised more than $2.4 million to help people recover from substance abuse.

"One of the vital pieces to the solution is community — a supportive community of recovering people who can get together and find the services they need, the support they need, the help they need, the coaching they need," said Bailey. "All of that is going to be available under one roof."

The MDC is still accepting donations for renovation to the building.

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