Imagine your neighbors being up in arms about a Dialysis center coming to town. Imagine your zoning board denying the application of a cancer treatment facility. Imagine your town rejecting a multimillion-dollar property sale offer from a nursing home. These situations are difficult to imagine, because these are groups of people who society deems acceptable to help. Kidney failure, cancer, and Alzheimer’s are all considered diseases. According to society, the people who suffer through these conditions are deserving of treatment in their town.

Consider individuals who suffer from the disease of substance abuse and addiction. Are they not in need of help? Do they not deserve treatment? Many would answer, “Of course they need help and yes, they deserve treatment, but not in my back yard.” Residents of towns with proposed drug and alcohol treatment facilities express concern that their property values will decrease or that the presence of the facility will attract drug users and dealers.

These concerns, however, have been debunked by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services since 1995. Twenty years later, however, residents still fight incoming facilities.

Benefits of Having a Treatment Center in Your Area

1. Often, treatment facilities purchase large, unused, and expensive properties. This means that a vacant property will be used for a helpful purpose and the seller (which may be the town itself) will gain a profit.

2. Treatment centers can provide jobs for residents in your area. Increasing the income of residents can only improve your town.

3. In a country where the war against drugs has been considered a failure and use of illicit substances has become an epidemic, the presence of a treatment facility should be seen as a sign of progress.

4. Drug addiction and abuse does not discriminate, it can impact any family in any location, whether they live in a city high-rise or a wealthy suburb. In fact, drug abuse in the suburbs has gotten so bad that there has been a drastic rise in Hepatitis C from needle sharing among suburban users. Therefore, treatment centers improve community health.

Whether the addict is from the inner city or from the suburbs, it is time to take the shame and stigma off of substance abuse.  The first step is accepting treatment facilities in any neighborhood, because addiction and abuse can happen anywhere.

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