ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Leadership and staff for the Cayuga Addiction Recovery Service (CARS) came together at the Hotel Ithaca on Wednesday, November 16th to celebrate the organizations 50th anniversary. As a special part of the event the founder of CARS, Jason Wittman, M.P.S., was recognized for his achievements of providing care for people struggling with addiction for so many years.

“I was initially inspired to found Alpha House from observing the continual cycle of arrest, incarceration, and release of those with substance use disorders. I wanted to create a more effective solution for recovery,” said Wittman.

CARS is designed to provide an evidence-based Outpatient, Opioid Treatment Program, and Residential Rehabilitation services in Ithaca and Trumansburg. The CARS and Cayuga Health affiliation has received conditional approval for affiliation from New York State and is pending final approval. Leaders of both organizations restated their commitment to enhance local addiction recovery services back in April 2021. 

“Our community has been fortunate to benefit from the compassionate, evidence-based clinical care that Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services has provided in a holistic and person-centered way for the past 50 years,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO of Cayuga Health, adding, “I continue to be excited about how this partnership will create a more seamless experience along an expanded continuum of care for Cayuga Health patients, their families, and our communities.”

Some of the points of partnership highlighted during the event include increasing nursing and psychiatric support for CARS, enhanced clinical addiction recovery counseling services for Cayuga Health patients and more efficient administrative and business operations.

"I am humbled and will be forever grateful that Jason Wittman had the vision and personal resolve to begin Ithaca Alpha House and bring critical residential treatment services to Tompkins County in 1972... It is not easy now, and it certainly was not easy then, but Jason’s dream and dedication has enabled countless women and men to be safe, to make a fresh start, and to truly overcome substance use disorder,” said Jessica Janssen, CEO of CARS.