Not in My Neighborhood
Organizations across the country face many obstacles as they work to help people overcome substance abuse. There is the resistance of patients who aren’t committed to the program and those that continue to relapse. There is the task of keeping up with the latest research on topics relevant to treatment. There are always funding concerns. Many facilities also have to deal with pressure from communities that don’t want them around.
Problems that Come with Treatment Facilities
Throughout the country there are communities that simply don’t want a drug treatment facility opening up in their backyard. These are usually smaller communities and residential areas that see the facility as a threat to their quiet way of life.
We may be able to relate to or understand where they are coming from. Residents don’t want the noise or lights at night from a facility. Increased traffic in quiet neighborhoods causes a problem. Physical issues like overwhelming septic systems, chemical hazards, and extra waste have residents in some areas leery. Others simply do not want multi-family housing, or a large building going up, or anything that could cause property values to decline.
Overwhelmingly, however, residents opposed to treatment facilities are concerned about safety and the influence recovering drug and alcohol abusers could have on the community. They fear that drugs will become common in the neighborhood, and that patients and their visitors may be a danger to society.
Helping People in Need
They might be right. A drug rehab facility may indeed bring with it noise, traffic, and more people. But it also brings help for people that really need it. We should not let petty things keep us from providing that help in our area. There are people in every community that need treatment for addiction, and our communities will be healthier and stronger if we can give these people the help that they need and the tools to continue on with a sober life. Drug and alcohol addicts are often put on waiting lists to get treatment in their community, or they may be shipped off to another city for treatment.
Residents should be encouraged to look at the need, and to be understanding when it comes to allowing a treatment facility in. As one facility owner stated, “It’s kind of a shame some people are scared of something that’s so needed.”(1)
Of course, a treatment facility must research their potential building sites carefully. A facility should be located to cause as little disruption to the neighborhood as possible. There are some areas that just may not tolerate a facility well. However, we all should share a little love and do what we can to help out our fellow citizens who want to get sober.