Officials from UT Health San Antonio and Be Well Texas, a program offering treatment and recovery support for substance use and mental health, gathered April 20 to celebrate the grand opening of a northwest San Antonio facility that provides comprehensive services statewide.

According to a news release, the new 20,000-square-foot center at 5109 Medical Drive also conducts research and provides education and training for providers.

Be Well Texas officials said 1 in 10 people in Texas have a substance use disorder, but not everyone has the same access to care. The treatment and recovery services offered by Be Well Texas are provided regardless of one’s ability to pay. Be Well Texas is also a UT Health San Antonio initiative.

“We started these programs to provide equitable access to compassionate, evidence-based programs for substance use disorder and people who are using substances,” said Jennifer Sharpe Potter, executive director of Be Well Texas, in a statement. “Evidence-based treatment means treatment with the best possibility of success because we know from science that it works.”

Be Well Texas officials said they bring addiction medicine specialists, behavioral health experts, researchers and several staff members with lived experience in addiction recovery together at this new northwest San Antonio location to collaborate statewide and expand access to care.

The new location includes in-person and telehealth clinical space, a research laboratory, a tele-mentoring studio, administrative offices, a spacious waiting area and other features, the release said.

“So, through a combination of community-based providers, our own virtual clinic that serves the state, and a variety of programs and a lot of hard work, we’re able to provide these services throughout Texas,” said Potter, who also is vice president of research and professor of psychiatry at UT Health San Antonio.

Briseida “Bee” Courtois, substance use services director at Be Well Texas, said her organization has a team of providers, clinicians, nursing staff, case management and recovery support services who can help an individual no matter where they are in their journey.

Overall, in addition to its in-person and statewide telehealth clinical operation, Be Well Texas coordinates a network of approximately 140 community providers treating for opioid and other substance use, and providing recovery support services across Texas, the release said.

People who work Be Well Texas’ recovery support services have experienced substance use or mental health conditions, or both, and are now providing critical peer-level support.

“I’ve experienced incarceration, I’ve experienced homelessness, I’ve experienced challenges with substance use and mental health, and how to overcome those things,” said Richard Hamner, Be Well Texas’ program manager of recovery support services. “So we use that experience along with our education and training to help build the resources that individuals need to improve their lives.”

And in research, Be Well Texas is conducting cutting-edge trials to find new treatments for substance use disorders, including for cocaine-use and methamphetamine-use disorders. Plus, the program is conducting two clinical trials for medications that could help individuals curb their withdrawal symptoms from cannabis use.

Hours of operation for Be Well Texas’ center in northwest San Antonio are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, call 888-85-BeWell (888-852-3935).