Northampton Press

Friday, April 10, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY BILL LEINER JR.Brian Sabo, director of Change on Main, Northampton, is answering phone calls, emails and Facebook contacts to help persons with addiction challenges while the center is temporarily closed. PRESS PHOTO BY BILL LEINER JR.Brian Sabo, director of Change on Main, Northampton, is answering phone calls, emails and Facebook contacts to help persons with addiction challenges while the center is temporarily closed.

Available even when closed

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 by BILL LEINER JR. Special to The Press in Local News

Change on Main director continues counseling

Organizations providing services to people in recovery are considered essential services, according to Brian Sabo, Change on Main director. They are not affected by Gov. Tom Wolf’s order to shutter all nonessential businesses. Change on Main, located on Main Street in Northampton, has closed its center for the sake of safety but continues to counsel.

Change on Main offers services for those in recovery. They understand abstinence from addiction is only the beginning. The Northampton County initiative supports efforts and investments in those personally in recovery and those supporting their efforts.

Along with Northampton County, the Lehigh Valley Drug and Alcohol Intake Unit is a valuable resource partnered with Change on Main.

With the coronavirus descending on the Lehigh Valley, Sabo’s team decided to help the community and their clients by closing their facilities in Northampton and in Easton. The Easton location is called Change on Third Street.

Although not ordered to close, the closing is to help the community slow the spread of the virus through social distancing.

This thinking and action are necessary to help our community limit the virus spread.

But, the centers are still operating. Although closed, Sabo is at the Northampton location daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. to answer phone calls from those in need of addiction services, or just to talk to get someone through a rough time. On-the-phone assessments are being done. Referrals to treatment centers are happening.

“I want them to hear my voice and compassion from someone who’s been through addiction,” Sabo said.

When open, services include group meetings, a drop-in-like center, resources and information and addiction clearinghouse services. Fellowship and support are provided. All staff are successfully in recovery with experiences that give them insight and understanding into what those in active addiction and early recovery need for success.

A female caller in a difficult personal space struggling emotionally called Change on Main earlier that day.

“She was crying on the phone and needed to speak with someone and needed help finding treatment,” Sabo said. “She thanked me for taking time to talk to her. I talked to her about an hour.”

Sabo provided her with resources to call and informed her what to say when she got in touch with a treatment facility. It will be her first rehab experience.

“People need help. That’s why we are here,” he said.

Sabo can be reached by phone at 610-440-0581, the Facebook page under the name Victor Hampton, the Change on Main Facebook page or via Messenger.

“I am here from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day to answer the phone,” he said. “Since we closed, I’ve been answering Messenger notes 11 p.m.-midnight nearly every night.”