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Drug Rehab Center Plan Raises Safety Concerns

Flanders Drive residents remain worried about proposed facility for Route 206.

The three hours of testimony Thursday night in front of the Hillsborough Planning Board by the drug rehabilitation expert hired by the facility proposed for Route 206 failed to soften nearby residents' opposition.

The board will continue the hearing on Harding Corona LLC's proposed 56-bed long-term rehabilitation facility Feb. 7, with testimony on planned security and business operations to bolster the testimony given Thursday by counselor Georgette Jungels, of Millington.

Jungels, who is contracted with Bridgewater-based GenPsyche, provided an overview of the licensing requirements for such facilities, as well as the treatment program planned for the location.

According to her statements, a license to operate a residential facility that only accepts voluntary patients will be sought when and if zoning approval is given. The license bars the center from accepting patients using Medicare, Medicaid or state aid to pay for services.

"What we found was that in New Jersey, there is a lack of facilities for business and professional people," Jungels said, describing the type of patients envisioned to use the facility. "Confidentiality is, of course, the highest priority to them."

Jungels said she had told residents attending a Nov. 14 informational session a four- to six-week treatment at the proposed center would cost $30,000 to $40,000.

Under questioning, Jungels said adult addicts of any type could be accepted as long as they met the center's medical and psychological standards. She said violent or sex offenders would not be permitted.

But residents of Flanders Drive, which abuts the property the facility would be built on, took small comfort in Jungels' descriptions of the typical patient.

"I'm concerned about the safety of the neighborhood," Myrna Lieberman said. She questioned whether patients would be screened well enough to prevent violent people from getting in.

"We have over 30 children here in the neighborhood, so we're just concerned about their safety," Sue Richter said.

Jaclyn Van Cleef, of Hockenberry Road, said she was concerned former patients of the facility might return to Hillsborough after treatment to commit crimes.

"What are you guys going to do then?" she said. "You brought the crime up, you're over-burdening the police...how is GenPsyche going to deal with those people?"

Several board members had questions regarding the business operations planned, which Jungels said she couldn't answer, and Chairman Steven Sirici asked Harding Corona attorney Jessica Sweet, of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, PA., to bring someone to the Feb. 7 meeting who could answer those questions.

S.G. December 08, 2012 at 04:10 PM
BAF, you are correct bringing up the traffic question. Their traffic expert should be testifying at the next hearing. The proposal has their drive exiting onto 206, not the cul-de-sac. I believe the neighbors would make more headway concentrating on concerns like traffic.
MOM December 08, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Actually I did notice, however, snickering does not constitute that someone doesn't have an addict in their family or a friend that would need services. An addict is an addict and according to this facility, if they have insurance and/or money, and pass their "screening" they will be admitted. Regarding where people live, it was in response to Fred. Obviously, it doesn't matter where they live. The facility isn't being built just for Hillsborough residents. And yes the property has been suggested as Open Space and it should be looked into again. The property behind it is Open Space, there is the Royce Brook Tributary, wetlands and the historical landmark across the street. There are many uses for that property that would benefit ALL the residents of Hillsborough but it wouldn't bring the ratables that the town is looking for.
Mack December 08, 2012 at 05:51 PM
I do not blame the neighbors for their concerns. I have a drug addicted relative who was put in a voluntary facility by the family. After one week she has walked out only to be arrested for robbery. Before her arrest, she worked in the medical field and also volunteered on the local rescue squad. Bottom line, it doesn't matter who you are, what you do, or how much$$$$$ you have. You don't control the addiction. The addiction controls you. The facilities need to be located away from general population for their safety. They should not be the victims. I wish the neighborhood the best in their fight.
Concerned Citizen December 08, 2012 at 08:15 PM
RE: Patient Reviews. I see that someone has also printed these patient reviews on the facebook page created by the neighborhood in question : Hillsborough Residents for a Safe & Drug-Free Community. I also notice that no discussion has been presented as to explain why anyone would want this individual to front a business that would care for addicted individuals. Forget ratables, forget community issues and nuisances to the surrounding neighborhood, forget any idea that people may be inconvenienced or emotionally harmed by the presence of this facility; just ask "would you trust your treatment to this individual or put your family member into this facility?" How would you answer this?
Truthsayer December 09, 2012 at 08:12 PM
As a professional in the behavioral health field, the following is my take on the meeting in Hillsborough. The Gen Psych presentation was disingenuous. This facility is not offering anything different than other New Jersey facilities such as Princeton House, Carrier, Seabrook, Sunrise, Endeavor House, and Summit. The length of stay will be the same as the other facilities because they are accepting insurance. Those who are going to pay $30,000 to $40,000 for substance abuse treatment will not be coming to New Jersey. They will generally go to an out of state facility. People who are treated at the residential level of care have failed at the outpatient level of care because they just continue to use drugs despite legal and family consequences. The falsehood presented was that they are treating prescription addicts, not street drugs. Those people who abuse prescription drugs are no longer getting it from a provider but from the street and will use whatever they can get their hands on. They steal from their families, display dangerous behaviors at home and steal from the community in order to support their habit. GenPsych stating they only accept those who are mentally stable is laughable. BTW, the treatment facility can only have knowledge of a patient's criminal background, if the patient signs a release of information . Do you want this facility in a residential area in Hillsborough? I don't.

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