Community Raises Concerns Over Proposed Drug Rehab Center

By: Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Brooks Jarosz Email

BUFFALO, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- One group's plan to create a road to recovery for drug addicts was met by a community of concerns.

A group called "The Rock" is proposing to open a drug rehab center in the town of Buffalo, West Virginia.

Dozens of residents came to Buffalo Elementary School Saturday morning to take part in a town meeting, discussing and listening to a presentation on the proposal.

Overwhelmingly, neighbors are opposed to the idea, thinking more addicts from other parts of Putnam County would come to the town and stay at the inpatient center.

"I've got kids, I've got family -- people that I care about," neighbor Tony Johnson said. "I do not want this around us."

Doctors and lawyers who make up "the Rock" organization was considering property within the city to create a safe haven for recovering addicts.

"These people when they come to this facility will be drug free," one organizer said. "We are here to help people and we want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem."

However, many fear the rehab center would actually encourage and attract more addicts to not only live in the neighborhood but also cause more crime to occur.

"There's 70 percent of us over 65," neighbor Tudy Bowman said. "And kids!"

"These people are free to leave at any time," neighbor Danette Tucker said. "And where they going to go when they leave? In somebody's house!"

Still, founders of "The Rock" say they want to work with the community and will not move in if neighbors don't want them there.

"People feel uncomfortable about having addicts in their community which I completely understand," Doctor Michael Robie said. "It's just unfortunately the addicts are already here and that's who we're trying to help."

One recovering addict tells that this center is desperately needed and would be a major resource to help people get back on the right path in life.

"This is going to be heaven if this goes in here," she said.

A proposed site was along Eighteen Mile Creek in Buffalo, converting an old barn into the rehab center.

The biggest debate among neighbors is in who's backyard?

"You're wanting to bring all of this down to our community where all these people live and dump it in our lap," Johnson said.

X.E. Rahmati tried to explain how common pill pushers and drug dealers are already in Putnam County and smaller communities, but many don't even realize it.

"Nobody wants to get a family member in trouble so there's burglaries, robberies of prescription drugs that go unreported on a daily basis," X.E. Rahmati said. "They think they're helping their loved one out when all they're doing is enabling them to become further addicted."

"The Rock" is considering other towns across Putnam County but has yet to make any formal plans as to where the center will be built.

Keep clicking for more on this developing story.

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