Our history can be divided into four distinct periods: Our Legacy; Continued Growth; Monumental Challenges; and Renaissance.
Our Legacy (1969-1978)
In the background of the civil rights struggles and the Vietnam War, a dedicated group of attorneys, physicians, public-policy makers, academicians and community activists formed a board of trustees and co-founded the Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation (ARTC) with Dr. Beny Primm serving as its founding program director. The Vera Institute of Justice was a major contributor to the agency’s formation and, during this period, ARTC established six clinics in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Continued Growth (1979-2007)
The rigid Rockefeller drug laws and the rapid growth of the HIV/AIDS pandemic required more effective therapies. In response, we expanded to seven medication-assisted treatment programs, plus three chemical dependency (drug free) programs, and added on-site primary medical care including HIV counseling, testing, and treatment.
We engaged in behavioral and biomedical research that was presented locally, nationally and internationally. Our leadership served on city, state and national public health, scientific and public policy advisory committees including: the NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene; the NYS Dept of Health; the National Institute on Drug Abuse; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and the White House Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
We also established a Culinary Arts Academy to provide career training for our patients.
Monumental Challenges (2008-2012)
The nation experienced a devastating economic downturn leading to sharp decreases in governmental support for many social services and New York State changed its paradigm for reimbursement for the behavioral and medical health services we provide. As a result, we had to close two of our three drug-free programs and substantially reduce administrative support staff.
While these upheavals were occurring, the adverse consequences of chronic Hepatitis C virus infection, which is especially common among those injecting drugs like heroin, added to the treatment challenges faced by our agency.
Near the end of this difficult period, with signs of recovery appearing on the horizon, we acquired contracts for two programs providing mental health services to adolescents at detention centers in The Bronx and Brooklyn. We also began renovations at two of our facilities; one in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan.
Finally, a new strategic plan was released, Joyce Y. Hall was named chairperson of the Board of Trustees, and Dr. Lawrence S. Brown, Jr. was named Chief Executive Officer.
Renaissance (2012 - present)
We were proud to be honored by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities as being among the top three percent of programs providing addiction services nationwide. Other signs of recovery included the improved financial health of the agency, the re-branding of ARTC to START Treatment & Recovery Centers, and a greater emphasis on philanthropic support to offset reduced government funding.