The Cattaraugus County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse was incorporated on July 12, 1974 as a non-profit agency to provide prevention education, information and referral services.  The first Board of Directors was elected in 1978.

In 1984, with Board approval, the Council expanded its early intervention programs by adding a school-based substance abuse prevention/education program.  A few short years later, in 1986, the Council added outpatient counseling for those individuals recovering from alcohol and other drug abuse when it assumed responsibility for the Cattaraugus County run Guidance Center outpatient counseling services.

Through a generous donation in 1988, the Council acquired a landmark home in Westons Mills and opened Weston’s Manor: a 16-bed community residence for individuals in recovery from chemical dependency.  This facility officially opened in 1990.

Prevention education became a larger part of the Council’s services in 1992.  This program provided opportunities for individuals, families and the community to learn about themselves and to reduce or eliminate the risks presented by alcohol and other drug use.  The Prevention Department continues to provide these services through accurate, age appropriate information throughout school districts in the county and in the community about alcohol, substance use disorder and other related issues.  The staff of the Prevention Department encourage healthy alternatives and promote no substance use as a viable choice for all individuals.

The Shelter Plus Care program, a federally subsidized housing program targeting homeless persons with a substance use disorder or mental health disorder diagnosis, began operation in 1995.  Participants in the program focus their efforts on their plans for recovery with additional emphasis placed on educational and vocational goals. Unfortunately, due to loss of funding, the program ended in April 2019.

In 1997, the Council opened Wendy’s House.  This supportive living environment is designed to house local recovering women and their children.  Wendy’s House is dedicated in memory of Wendy Sue Axelson, whose life reflected courage and hope in facing personal trauma.  The Council also operates additional subsidized housing for those in recovery through the Supportive Living Program. These apartment style living environments are for both males and females who have sustained more long-term recovery.

Keeping with the Council’s record for meeting the changing needs of the community, an employee assistance program called Perspectives signed its first contract in April of 1999.  While the program was proven to be successful, the needs of the community changed and the program was ended in December of 2012.

To further meet the needs of our growing community, the Outpatient Clinic expanded its services by opening clinic sites in Salamanca, Gowanda and Machias.  Services were also provided to residents in the NYS Office of Children and Family Services Residential Facilities in Great Valley and Limestone until they closed in 2009 and at the Randolph Children’s Home, now known as New Directions Youth and Family Services.

After 35 years of serving our community, the Cattaraugus County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse changed its name to the Council on Addiction Recovery Services, Incorporated (CAReS) in April of 2009.  So much had changed in the field of recovery services, such as the research linking multiple addictions, that the name no longer reflected the full scope of services provided by the Council. The new name Council on Addiction Recovery Services (CAReS) truly more accurately reflects our mission and the services that we are providing.

In 2009, CAReS began providing medication assisted treatment in the Olean office as an additional tool in the treatment of substance use disorders.  The service has since been expanded to offer multiple medications specifically used to assist with alcohol and opiate use disorder treatment. In 2019, this service has expanded to our satellite clinic in Salamanca.

Also in 2009, CAReS became a founding member of a grassroots effort to reduce substance use in Cattaraugus County through the Healthy Cattaraugus County coalition.  The coalition seeks to change the environment in the County by educating community members, influencing social norms and potentially changing laws to support less substance use.   Funding support for coalition efforts has been provided by OASAS and most recently the Drug Free Community Support program through the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

CAReS continues to evolve and address the needs of the community in regards to substance use prevention, treatment and recovery.  In 2019, we will be offering additional residential treatment facilities in Westons Mills, providing 20 more beds for treatment of substance use disorders.