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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.

Laura December 07, 2012 at 01:53 PM
This is a bad idea and will bring down Hillsborough, which is known for their excellent school systems and family friendly environment.
nllnv December 07, 2012 at 02:10 PM
When did the township's vision to create a "downtown" feel migrate into a cluster of u-store-it, car washes, bank buildings and professional buildings??? Did I miss something? It's time to stop and think about what our township looks and feels like - both to us and to those who happen through on our roads.
S.G. December 07, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Montgomery Township doesn't seem to have a problem with its school system or family friendly environment and yet...they have Carrier Clinic.
Concerned Citizen December 07, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Carrier Clinic is no where near any of Montgomery schools nor is it near any residential neighborhoods. In fact, it was intentionally placed in an area that had very little development.
Concerned Citizen December 07, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Carrier clinic, Sunrise House and Princeton House all provide the services that were heard at the meeting last night. These facilities are all built well away from residential neighborhoods, surrounded by mature woods, farmlands, or (in the case of Princeton House on one side) businesses. There are NO RESIDENTIAL Neighborhoods like that of Flanders Drive and Old Somerville road and the townhouse community to the west of 206 anywhere near these other substance abuse providers FOR A REASON. The lot at 351 rt. 206N should not be used to house drug addicts, no matter what kind of functioning capability they have. What is GenPsych's (Dr. Odunlami's) RESPONSIBILITY when something goes horribly wrong in the neighborhood due to one of their patients?
Fred December 07, 2012 at 06:20 PM
You do realize that the patients they are looking to treat are not the dregs of society? They are your neighbors, you coworkers and maybe your family members. Having the means to live in Hillsborough, Princeton or Bridgewater does not protect one from addiction issues.
Concerned Citizen December 07, 2012 at 08:16 PM
But there is absolutely no guarantee that they won't be treating patients who may be deleterious to the neighborhood that this facility borders no matter what their stated goals are to get the facility built. Once it is in place, all bets are off. An inspection once every two years is hardly a detriment for them to bend the rules.
S.G. December 07, 2012 at 08:27 PM
When Carrier was founded in 1910 "to establish and maintain a colony for the care and treatment of sick persons, and particularly for the care and treatment of nervous and mental diseases and also all allied diseases" it was placed in an area convenient to transportation. I was probably a fairly radical concept as there was a lot of misunderstanding about psychiatric problems...unlike today.
S.G. December 07, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Fred, many of the residents who spoke last night plainly felt that their own family members would never need this type of treatment. There was also no discussion of the jobs brought into Hillsborough, the services that could be supplied by local businesses, and taxes that this facility would pay.
BAF December 07, 2012 at 11:04 PM
It's going to be a nice clean ratable in a section of Route 206 where the developmental trend is toward medical and office uses...such as the existing Medicor building and the DiCanto medical plaza. Additionally, it is my understanding that as part of the 206 Bypass project, Old Somerville Road will a cul de sac ending at 206...no worries about traffic there. I have seen the GenPsych offices in Bridgewater...high end, well appointed, serious money spent on their office space. Unlikely the proposed facility will be any less. And that abandoned eyesore of a property will be gone.
Concerned Citizen December 07, 2012 at 11:16 PM
There was no discussion about these matters because the only things that could be discussed were entirely controlled by what the witness, Georgette Jungels, could testify to in her role as license and regulations expert. There are so many additional questions and discussions that should be had prior to granting this facility.
Concerned Citizen December 07, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Here are a whole list of patient reviews of GenPsych's CEO, Dr. Odunlami. Everyone that I could find. If you read them, you may ask yourself "is this the kind of medical professional you would want to run a substance abuse clinic within 75 feet of your children?" Patient Reviews For Dr. Odunlami Read more: http://www.vitals.com/doctors/Dr_Henry_Odunlami/reviews#ixzz2DdohhCC2 1.5Show Details James T | Odunlami's Patients = Test Subjects Sep 28th, 2012 At first he will act like he is your best friend, but only so he can gain your trust and raise your medications to dangerously high doses. After you are pumped so full of meds that you can barely move or speak, he will blame you incessantly for your own mental problems. This man should not be allowed to interact with human beings, let alone those with mental disabilities. 2.5Show Details Vitals Guest Sep 5th, 2012 Didn't give any insight into my condition (depression), but I was there primarily to get meds. I mentioned having sleep problems and Dr. Odunlami's solution was "Just go to bed." Nice guy, but not very perceptive. 1Show Details Vitals Guest | Unfprofessional Aug 11th, 2011 I've never seen a medical office run with so little regard to the well-being of patients.Not sure how you can call yourself a mental health professional while performing your job so unprofessionally. 2.5Show Details Vitals Guest | Don't get treated by him Feb 27th, 2011 Never.
Concerned Citizen December 07, 2012 at 11:22 PM
additional reviews.. too many characters: 1.5Show Details Vitals Guest Jul 19th, 2010 hard to get hold of him and when you get to see him he will spend no more than 10 minutes with you prescribe some meds and good by 1Show Details Vitals Guest | Intrusive, invasive mailing to demented patient Jun 26th, 2010 I was caregiver and medical representative with power of attorney for my husband suffering from dementia and other problems, who required residence in a nursing home. Though not informed, I noted a "consultation" by Dr. Odunlami in the Medicare charges for 9/19/2008. Today, 06/26/2010, the mail brought a letter addressed to my husband, offering one of those stimulus machine treatments for depression. He claims this machine is the only available noninvasive treatment without drugs for depression. Absolutely untrue. Psychotherapy ("talk therapy") is known to be effective for some. Dr. Odunlami has no business directly asking a patient incapable of giving informed consent to submit to a private series of treatments. What makes him think my husband is an appropriate candidate? MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN DEAD FOR MORE THAN A YEAR. Clearly, the name came from the nursing home consultation. Even if my husband were still alive, a physician's sales pitch to our home for private treatments is, in my opinion, unethical. unethical.
Concerned Citizen December 07, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Vitals Guest | Unprofessional Apr 20th, 2010 At the second visit, Dr. Odunlami asked why we were there, and rushed us through the appointment. Then, a tratment issue arose, and despite my repeated attempts to speak with him, Dr. Odunlami would not take my call, or return my call. The office assistant I spoke with stated several times that she would have him call me, but he never did.
MOM December 08, 2012 at 01:47 AM
S.G.: Not one resident ever stated that they didn't feel a family member would never need treatment in a facility like this. It is irresponsible to assume you know anything personal about the families or friends of the people who were at the meeting. Fred: The clientele they are proposing for this facility are professionals - doctors, nurses, who are hooked on pain killers or prescription meds, pro athletes, actors and such that require confidentiality. So, actually, they are not residents of Hillsborough that will be getting treated. BAF: That abandoned eyesore of a property should be open space like the property behind it. The traffic is not the concern for the residents. The open campus of addicts 75 feet from a neighborhood of 30 children is the concern.
S.G. December 08, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Most of the businesses that you mention pre-date the proposed downtown design which came about due to the bypass changing the Route 206 environment.
S.G. December 08, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Answering a question Ms. Jungels said that if a family member needed their services it would be available locally. Did you notice how many people snickered? Ms. Jungels used the term professionals, yes, but she also repeatedly explained that she was referring to high functioning addicts. Who cares where the patients live? Medical facilities don't generally turn you down or accept you based on where you live. That property has been for sale for years. Did you suggest it as Green Acres or Open Space? Did any of you try to purchase it? If your family had it up for sale what type of buyers would you have accepted?
nllnv December 08, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Not to over-engage, but I disagree with you... the storage facility at Hillsborough Rd., the new car wash further down 206, the strip mall at Raider Blvd, Lowes/Kohls, Chase and TD banks... I believe these were all built after the "plan" was in place. Don't get me wrong, you people all have a more serious debate going, but this constant evolution of rt 206 into US-1 is something I have been complaining about for years.
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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