Dave Wallace: Treatment center concerns
As the Historic Yampa School Building remains as the collision destination of a runaway train, I continue to mull over several concerns which have yet to be addressed. Having heard many references to the high level of substance addiction within our community, I must ask, “what exactly are these assertions based on”? Are these claims based on levels of addiction which compare communities of likeness to our own, are there ‘per capita’ statistics available for a comparison, or are these merely comments based on personal perception? I believe it is likely every community in our country has some level of substance addiction including ours, I also believe It is a community’s responsibility to address such conditions in order to maintain a desirable level of behavior within society. Although, gutting a historic building and imposing hardship on property owners is not an acceptable course of action.
A privately owned or operated treatment facility located in an area which has no impact on the community’s established activities or neighboring property values is one thing. Although, a private company occupying and operating a business in a publicly owned building, located in an area where neighboring residential properties would likely see a depreciation in value is an entirely different circumstance. Studies previously published, show a devaluation of 7%-18% in residential property values within 1/8th mile surrounding a Treatment Center. Residential property owners have made large investments in our community and this must be taken into consideration.
Regardless of where a Rehabilitation Center is located, there has to be an established set of comparative values, and measurable results. Any addiction treatment center in our community should operate under a requirement of, ‘Community First’, and we must weigh the benefits against any likely repercussion’s. We must have accurate data on where our current level of addiction stands in order to set goals and measure future results, otherwise determining the level of improvement will be nothing more than personal perception.
I do not believe an Addiction Treatment Center should be affiliated with a local medical facility. For having a medical facility which financially benefits by treating patients and prescribing drugs which may lead to an addiction, while also benefitting from treating such an addiction which they, (the medical facility) may likely have contributed to, is a conflict of interest. Treatment Centers have two responsibilities, (1st) Successfully treating and ridding the patient of the addiction, and (2nd) identify the cause of such addiction and reduce, if not eliminate the risk of recurrence. Treatment Centers should be mapping the road which led to an individual’s addiction, for if the cause is not identified and addressed, we will be fighting a losing battle. If this road leads back to a medical facility which prescribed addictive levels of opioids, they should be held liable. In other words, those who contributed to an individual’s addiction should share responsibility for the rehabilitation expenses. Successful accountability will be nonexistent if the Treatment and Medical Facilities are married together.
If our community is sincere in reducing substance addiction, then any such facility should furnish a performance guarantee by providing measurable improvement goals based on current local levels of addiction. A Treatment Facility whose main intentions are to attract and treat addicts from outside our Community while negativity impacting residential property values in doing so, is not addressing a local condition, but rather it’s giving rise to an additional hardship within our Community. The community must have a ‘Feasibility and Community Impact Study’ completed by an independent firm before this ‘slip-shod deal’ goes any further, sanding the rail must start now.