Will the Stigma of Addiction Prevent this Much Needed Rehab from Being Built?
Community members believe that addicts in recovery will cause danger to the community. Will the stigma surrounding addiction prevent a much-needed rehab facility from opening in Tucson?
This month, eyes have been on Mission View Elementary School in South Tucson, Arizona where the school community is in an uproar over news that a residential addiction rehabilitation facility will be put into place across the road.
The Pasadera Behavioral Health Network will create a rehab facility with 70 beds for residential treatment, and will offer outpatient services as well.
One mother of two who lives nearby the proposed facility agrees that places such as this are needed, but she fears for the school children. “There are a lot of kids in the neighborhood, and it will be scary to have them outside playing with a rehab right there,” she said. “I’ve seen places like that. There are people passing out because they need their drugs. It’s just not safe to have a rehab next to a school.”
Pasadera CEO, Chuck Burbank, however, believes that it is unfair for these people to be stereotyping these addicts – as if being an addict somehow makes a person a criminal who would do harm to children. Burbank has already been in discussion with the school principal about the facility which went well, according to both parties. There was discussion of the facility’s 24/7 presence, as well as fencing, lighting, overnight security, and of course full supervision of all residents.
But South Tucson is no stranger to drugs. In fact, Mission View Elementary already deals with used needles in the school yard, and alcohol bottles strewn about on a regular basis – which is why Burbank is sure that their 24 hour presence and full-time security will actually deter people from using the school grounds as a place for drinking and drugging – essentially making the community a safer place in the long run. Burbank hopes to get this point across to the community, but he knows that the stigma attached to addiction is still quite large in many areas.
These people who are upset over the facility, however, do not fully understand what this rehab facility is offering and to whom. The people who will be receiving treatment are there voluntarily, because they want to get better. They are suffering from a disease and have reached out to ask for help to stop their own suffering. These people are not criminals who will harm children in the neighbouring school.
And while many addicts have at one point stolen money or items from another person to support their habit, they are still not bad people. They want to get better, and they have a right to get better – and with the drug epidemic across the U.S., facilities like this do need to be put in place, wherever it is they can be accommodated.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, and you are unsure of how to reach out for help, contact a professional today.