Ericka Alston Buck (left) serves as executive director for the REBOUND Center, a new drug treatment program that takes a trauma responsive approach to recovery and wellness for young adults. The center is an initiative of Divine Light, Inc., which is led by Sakina Dean (right). (Courtesy Photo)

By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member

The REBOUND Center (REBOUND), a new drug treatment program that takes a trauma responsive approach to recovery and wellness, is set to officially open in early January on West Baltimore Street. The center is an initiative of Divine Light, Inc., a nondenominational agency that provides addiction treatment in an outpatient setting.  

West Baltimore native Ericka Alston Buck, who founded Kids Safe Zone following the civil unrest after the death of Freddie Gray, started working with Divine Light, Inc. in 2018. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the country, she saw a surge in the number of young people looking for drug treatment. Alston Buck enlisted the help of her boss, Sakina Dean, to mitigate this problem. 

“Over the pandemic, we saw a huge increase in the number of young people that were seeking treatment for drug addiction, like some that we’ve never seen before,” said Alston Buck, executive director of REBOUND.  “It went from young people smoking weed to showing up looking for treatment.” 

Most of the 18- to 30-year-old individuals were seeking drug treatment for addiction to opioids. 

Alston Buck, who struggled with drug addiction as a young adult in Baltimore, got sober at 26. During her experience in treatment programs, many of the participants were older adults. 

When starting REBOUND, she determined that the program should primarily focus on treating young adults ages 18 to 30, so they could relate to one another. 

“One thing that allows people to not just seek recovery but maintain ongoing recovery is you have to feel a part of. You need to feel seen, heard valued,” said Alston Buck. 

REBOUND’s supportive housing is already serving 10 young, formerly homeless men. Once the center is fully operational, it will have housing for 40 individuals. 

The treatment program takes a holistic approach that considers the connections between mental health issues, trauma and addiction. Some of REBOUND’s wrap-around services include substance abuse treatment, therapy, acupuncture, mindfulness meditation, GED classes, job readiness training and legal support. 

In addition to program participants, REBOUND will also extend its services to surrounding community members. 

REBOUND is Alston Buck’s response to the violent crimes and murders that afflict the city of Baltimore. The city is in its seventh consecutive year of 300 homicides or more. She believes that if the public health issue of drug addiction is not managed, this figure will never decrease. 

“We all need to do our part in making certain that Baltimore is a safe place where people that look like us can live, work and thrive,” said Alston Buck. 

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