GALLIPOLIS — On Monday, the Gallipolis Planning Commission voted to not make zoning changes for a non-residential drug abuse treatment facility to be housed at 76 Vine Street.
Planning Commission member Troy Johnson was absent for the vote. His colleagues Nancy Smith, Tony Gallagher, Gene Greene and Fred Wheeler all voted to not change zoning regulations for the proposed Groups Recover Together facility.
Groups Recovery Together Executive Director Jeremy Carpenter once again appeared before the public at the planning commission. Members of the public were once again present to voice their concerns with the director, many of which were concerned with opioid addicts potentially bringing problems to the Gallipolis community from elsewhere or potentially selling any Suboxone prescribed as a treatment for opioid addiction recovery. Many of the same concerns had been echoed at previous meetings regarding recovery centers wishing to open inside city borders.
According to Carpenter, clients would only get enough of a Suboxone prescription to last them through a week and only with constant drug screens. His organization aimed to bring reputable local physicians together to oversee patient care. Drugs would not be dispensed on site and those with more severe addiction therapy needs would be recommended for alternative locations.
Some members of the public felt having the opioid treatment program in the area was a good idea, just not in its currently proposed location. Some were concerned about tight traffic in the Vine Street area and some didn’t want Suboxone prescribed in the area at all. City Manager Gene Greene reflected some of the sentiment.
“I understand where these people are coming from,” said Greene. “It’s not something we haven’t talked about before. Everyone sympathizes with the drug problem…Everybody wants to help but nobody wants it next door…I said this in the last meeting. If we put this up on Second Avenue, somebody else would be sitting in these chairs.”
With the eventual negative vote from the planning commission, members of the commission and Carpenter said they would be willing to work together to find an alternate location for the proposed treatment center in the city.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.