Creation of Recovery One, an addiction treatment and recovery center at the former Golden Acres nursing home property in Amherst Township, could hinge on the fate of Issue 14 on your Nov. 6 ballot.
The measure puts forth a 0.30-mill levy that if approved would raise $2 million and cost $10.50 per year for every $100,000 worth of property you own.
A renovation is expected to cost roughly $850,000, though that number has been disputed by some close to the project. This past spring, $500,000 in state aid for the project was approved and $200,000 in local funds have also been made available.
Thomas Stuber, president and CEO of The LCADA Way, spoke on behalf of the measure Oct. 9 during an issues forum held at Oberlin’s Mount Zion Baptist Church.
He said Recovery One would be the first detoxification center in Lorain County since 1997.
“If you see the paper and read the news you know our problems are getting much worse,” he said. “The drugs are getting stronger, more addictive, and more dangerous. The good news is that treatment works but it takes a significant effort from the individual, the family, and the community. Treatment requires long-term help, usually detoxification, and sometimes medication-assisted treatment.”
Stuber referenced a study commissioned by the Nord Family Foundation that determined opioids set Lorain County back by $200 million in 2016 alone. It considered factors such as treatment, arrests, emergency response, and loss of work productivity.
“Look to the person to your right,” he told audience members. “Tell them it doesn’t matter that your son, daughter, sister, spouse, or friend has this disease. This is a neurological-based illness and 75 to 80 percent of those with an addiction to opiates in this county became addicted as a result of a legitimately prescribed narcotic. That doesn’t mean the doctors are pushers.”
Resident Ethlyn Kennedy spoke in opposition to Issue 14, accusing county commissioners of shaming voters into supporting it and saying the measure is asking for too much money from taxpayers.
“Immediately following commissioners’ unanimous vote to place the levy on the ballot, (Lori) Kokosky and (Matt) Lundy made public comments to try and make this a moral issue,” she said. “They expressed concerns that voters would unlikely approve the levy and if they did not they’d be failing to accept a moral responsibility to share in the care of their family, friends, and county neighbors who are suffering through the ravages of drug addiction.”
During an allotted rebuttal, Stuber said county administrators’ views have nothing to do with the need for Recovery One.
He said the county would provide financing, utility service, and maintenance at the facility but that separate entities would handle medical care.
“It doesn’t matter what your feelings about the commissioners are or what your political stance is relating to how this county is run,” he said. “This issue is related to the lives of those suffering from addiction. This is an opportunity to provide services in this county that will save lives. Whether the commissioners are a part of this or not, that’s not the issue at hand.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.