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Saturday, March 3, 2007
Forum on rehabilitation homes draws statewide audience
Newport Beach conference is attended by 300 officials from 80 California cities adversely affected by recovery houses.
By JEFF OVERLEY and NIYAZ PIRANI
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
NEWPORT BEACH – Three hundred policymakers from more than 80 California cities descended on Newport Beach Friday in a mass show of intrigue directed at drug and alcohol rehabilitation homes.
While lauding addiction treatment, the forum of attorneys, politicians and police called for an alliance to rein in recovery houses that have buffeted neighborhoods from Chula Vista to Eureka, both towns that sent liaisons.
"Money talks up in Sacramento," Newport Mayor Steve Rosansky said at the Radisson Hotel conference, appealing for a six-figure lobbying effort and a formal coalition to back up new legislation.
On the other side were stakeholders such as Phil Allen of the California Association of Addiction Recovery Resources. Saying the debate has been clouded by "fear" and "confusion," Allen also called for a coalition, one that would allow ostensibly opposed sides to "work together, instead of having these two camps."
Officials shared local approaches to regulation, which vary widely. Some have enacted moratoriums; others have loosened rules to avoid running afoul of fair-housing laws.
Statistics from the nonprofit Justice Policy Institute show that licensed treatment homes ballooned after voters passed Proposition 36 in 2000, allowing nonviolent drug offenders a reprieve from prison. That influx has raised hackles, with locals describing loitering, litter and shattered property values. "For some people, their home is their greatest economic asset. People want to protect that asset," Irvine lawyer Alene Taber said.
At the same time, each dollar spent on treatment saves taxpayers $7, said Joan Robbins of the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.
"Every city needs to deal with" addiction, said Clark Carr, president of Narconon International. "If we can just keep the hyperbole out … there's hope for real resolution on these issues."
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Every neighbor has a right to a good neighborhood, but each of us is now touched by addiction in our families in some way. We have two religious recovery homes in our neighborhood and they are very clean and polite. The trouble came from the adolescent foster home, where the kids were so over-medicated they would escape all strung out and steal stuff from the neighbors a couple times a month! Why do we always think addicts are the criminals? Good care is really what they need to recover.Christine - Mar. 03, 2007
I've owned a rental property and a home on the same block as the Narcanon in Newport Beach and they have been good neighbors or over 10 years. Our property values were not impacted negatively. The need for quality treatment is a growing concern and we need to support treatment that works for addicts as well as the community. Rick S. - Mar. 03, 2007
this totally a waste of converasation the drug programs are working who cares about a bunch of people that own homes i guess they would rather have drug dealers living next door anybody that even lives in newport shouldnt even have the right to complain about anything the people that complain should be moved to compton for a year,take the money from the wealthy and thier the same as the shopping cart guythe analyst - Mar. 03, 2007
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