Highland House Opens

May 20, 2024                                                             Volume XXII, Issue 1

A Short Recap

On February 23, 2023, the Highland Community, led by GHCA, first met with the management of Tuerk House, the drug & alcohol rehabilitation system which had purchased the former Country Gardens Assisted Living in Highland. It was a fiery meeting fueled by misinformation regarding the planned facility as many of you who attended may recall. Tuerk House leadership was completely stunned by what confronted them. By the end of the meeting it was resolved that GHCA and Tuerk House would work together to develop a Memo of Understanding, (MOU). Since that night, GHCA leadership, in concert with the immediate neighbors, has quietly worked with Tuerk House to create this comprehensive document. This was recently approved by Tuerk House, the neighbors and GHCA.


Within the MOU is the following definition of Highland House residents:

The Highland facility will be dedicated exclusively to pregnant women who have successfully completed a withdrawal management program. Per the Howard County Fire Marshall, occupancy may not exceed 14 patients. Treatment will be restricted to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) 3.1 Level. This is a structured, Clinically Managed, Low-Intensity Residential service which encompasses a 24-hour structured living environment with at least 5 clinical services per week. The goal is that patients, after successfully completing the programs, will engage in employment or academic pursuits and reconnection with family.

Further, The MOU Specifies:

  • No outside visitors are allowed;
  • All deliveries and transportation will be by Tuerk vehicles and staff;
  • There is 24 hour staff and supervision;
  • Residents are limited to the house and the yard surrounding the property;
  • Residents may not leave the property except for pre-approved appointments and meetings. Transportation will be provided by Tuerk House;
  • Unauthorized departures are grounds for immediate dismissal from the program;
  • Lighting and cameras are specified, as are locks on exterior access points;
  • The property is to be thoroughly screened from view with vegetation and fencing;
  • Signage will be subtle;
  • Tuerk House will share in the maintenance of the shared driveway; and
  • Occupancy is limited to 14 patients and the facility may not be expanded.

A Cooperative Effort Yields Success

We’ve come far since the meeting at St. Marks. Throughout the process Tuerk House, under the leadership of Bernard Gyebi-Foster, has been consistently cooperative. The facility, now called Highland House, recently opened, serving pregnant women from Howard County who have successfully completed a substance withdrawal management program. Residents of Highland House will be there to make a transition to an independent life, free of substance dependency. The need for such a facility has been well-documented by the Maryland Department of Health.

GHCA would like to express our appreciation for the support and guidance received from the Offices of Councilperson Deb Jung and County Executive Calvin Ball. Our elected officials worked for & with the Highland Community to facilitate a solid, positive relationship among all involved.