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Mission Statement

A professional community resource providing caring and effective recovery services dedicated to improving quality of life by promoting individual dignity and respect for all.

Vision Statement

We are the premier providers of innovative recovery services.

Enduring Purpose

We believe in the capacity of people to transform themselves.

2017 Board of Directors

JJames Sharp, PhD, President
Dale Johnson, Vice President
Kris Bennett, Secretary
Michelle Nevone, Treasurer
Jon Hilton
Kenneth Lansing
Terry O'Pray
LouAnne Giangreco, MD
Richard Gallagher
Karen Bedell

New Board Members for 2017

Paul Banfield

christmas 1
Members of the CARS
"Christmas Elf Team" help with
loading apples as part of the
Ulysses Christmas Bureau
annual program

Programs and Locations

Outpatient & Administrative Center
334 W. State St.
PO Box 789
Ithaca, NY 14851
(607) 273-5500

Residential Addiction Recovery Center
6621 Route 227
PO Box 724
Trumansburg, NY 14886
(607) 387-6118

Business Office
38 E. Main St.
PO Box 724
Trumansburg, NY 14886
(607) 387-5535


bill rusen cars ny


"We believe in the capacity of people to transform themselves."
-CARS enduring purpose statement
Heroin and our communities and what we can do

The news and numbers about heroin and the heroin epidemic have been truly staggering. This graph probably sums up the bad news as well as anything else.

In trying to understand this I tried to seek out the single best resource that might tell me most if not all of the "whole story" and I think I found that in Dreamland by Sam Quinones. The sub-title of the book is "The True Story of America's Opiate Epidemic."


In talking about Dreamland, Sam Quinones says, "[Dreamland] weaves together two riveting tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been a catastrophic opiate epidemic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma's campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive - extremely addictive - miracle painkiller.

Meanwhile, a massive influx of black tar heroin - cheap, potent, and originating from one small county, Xalisco, Nayarit, on Mexico's west coast and independent of any drug cartel, assaulted small town and mid- sized cities across the country, driven by a brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Together these phenomena continue to lay waste to communities from Tennessee to Oregon, Indiana to New Mexico.

Finally, though, I believe Dreamland finds hope in the same Rust Belt river town that led the country into the opiate epidemic - Portsmouth, Ohio, where townspeople are beginning to turn away from dependence and toward economic as well as municipal self-reliance, and, with that, recovery."-from I think the optimism is authentic and genuine, as Sam Quinones says in Dreamland "We don't just sit around and take the beating. We act. Like Americans always have...So there are even times when I think I'm right-that perhaps heroin is the most important force for positive change in our country today...and for all it has taught us and forced us to recognize about ourselves and how we live, as one woman told me, "we may thank heroin some day." In essence addiction recovery is the work of humility which is defined as "an accurate assessment of both strengths and weaknesses, and the ability to see the larger whole. To be both grounded and liberated by this knowledge. Knowing his strengths, the humble person asks how he can contribute and knowing his weaknesses, he asks how he can grow." I know we can ask those hard questions and learn from the answers.

Thank you,
Bill Rusen, Chief Executive Officer

Love is a Verb

I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.
-Arthur Rubinstein

christmas 2
One of the "CARS elves" bringing some holiday cheer

A Letter from Nancy Zahler, Coordinator of the Ulysses Christmas Bureau:

Dear Bill, on behalf of the volunteers who organize the Ulysses Christmas Bureau to enable neighbors to help neighbors, I wanted to extend our appreciation to you and the residents who provided such wonderful help this holiday season. For several years, residents have cheerfully loaded 60+ bags of apples and potatoes donated by Cornell University into our volunteer's truck and unloaded them at our various distribution locations. They are always on time, efficient and happy to help. This year, we asked even more of them and they not only rose to the challenge but became one of the highlights of this season's effort.

In addition to loading and unloading the donated produce, which now includes dividing potatoes from 50 lbs. bags into 5 lbs. bags for each of our families, a great team of residents showed up early on Saturday morning, December 17th to help us carry boxes of donated canned goods, 3 bags of groceries we purchased with community donations, and the bags of apples and potatoes to our neighbors' cars while they picked out some extras for their family.

christmas 3
The "CARS elf team" helps the Ulysses
Christmas Bureau bring the light and
joy of the holidays to children and
families in need

It was a long day but your guys made a great team with our Lions Club volunteers and they maintained their holiday spirits and kept us entertained in between deliveries. It was a particularly snowy day and some of our families couldn't make it in to pick up the presents and food for their children so your team offered to deliver to some of the out of the way homes. Then during a lull in activity your team broke down and loaded the tables we borrowed from Ulysses Square into your van and offered to return them so we'd have less to clean up at the end of our long day. Your van and our car of your volunteers arrived to find the driveway had not been plowed, making it impossible to drive the tables to the door. The guys in our car were undeterred by the 6 inches of now and said, "Let's do it!" and they carried each of the tables from the road through about 100 feet of snow into the building to store them safely until next year. That was service above and beyond!!

What was perhaps the best part for all of us, was knowing just how much it meant to your guys to participate in making Christmas possible for our needy neighbors. We ended our time together with grateful, tearful hugs all around. Thank you for letting us get to know them, these men who use your services, for giving them the opportunity to give back and for the wonderful, cheerful help they provide to the dedicated, but aging, volunteers of the Ulysses Christmas Bureau!!

Thanks again and we look forward to this great partnership again in 2017!

-Nancy Zahler, Ulysses Christmas Bureau

monica weimer

Recreation = Transformation

"Recreation therapy is new to the CARS community this year. While CARS has had recreation for a very long time, therapeutic recreation is fun with a purpose. Clients will learn valuable skills during leisure activities - which include increasing self-esteem, decision- making, impulse control, following step-by-step instructions, and maintaining healthy relationships with peers and staff. Our clients need more education when it comes to how to be a healthy individual and how to use their free time for rewarding activities that give their lives meaning. To meet these goals, groups such as Leisure Education, Seasonal Recreation, Social Activities, Recreation Skills, and Art, Culture, & Recovery are offered.

During an assessment period, clients will learn which types of activities they are interested in and if they have a high incidence of taking risks. In this population, many clients are adrenaline seekers and feel the need to find that ‘rush' in life. This is where recreation can play an important role to fill that void. After the assessment, clients will be given leisure and recreation resources for the county they will be discharged to, allowing the clients to walk away from CARS with a list of community resources.

I believe everyone can benefit from having a healthy leisure lifestyle - whether that be relieving stress from a long day at work, finding time to play with your kids, or volunteering your free time to an organization that is important to you. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "Leisure is the time for doing something useful." For CARS clients to have a fulfilling life, they need to understand the importance of leisure in their life."

Revenue and Expenses

revenue and expenses

Ithaca Alpha House Center, Inc. DBA Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services is a private, not-for-profit corporation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is registered with the Charities Bureau of the NYS Dept. of State. To obtain a copy of our 2017 audited financial statements, please contact:

Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services
Business Office
PO Box 724
Trumansburg, NY 14886

2016 Service Activity

In 2016 Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services provided three levels of addiction care. They are Outpatient Clinic Services, Outpatient Rehabilitation Services, and Intensive Residential Rehabilitation Services. All CARS' treatment programs are licensed by the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (NYS-OASAS). We are proud to say that all of our treatment programs rest upon the bedrock foundation of evidence based practices. We strive for and seek out best practices in all we do.

In terms of service activity for 2016, our Outpatient Clinic Program and our Outpatient Rehabilitation Program served 812 clients. Finally, our residential facility served 217 clients. We are very proud to say that 2014 saw CARS serve 1029 unique clients with the variety of services within our continuum of care. We have also had the privilege to work with many local and regional community partners including Tompkins County Mental Health, Family Treatment Court, Felony Treatment Court, Ithaca City Treatment Court and Challenge Workforce Solutions to make lasting and effective change for the clients we serve.

CARS at a Community Services
Carnival in Ithaca