Proposed Wilmington treatment center raises concerns

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A drug abuse treatment center may be coming to Medical Center Drive in Wilmington but, the proposed site’s immediate neighbor thinks a different location would be best.

Lower Cape Fear Hospice supports the county’s initiatives to help drug abusers
but is worried this facility will bring more traffic and noise to the quiet and peaceful community.

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“It’s amazing the number of patients that say I want to feel the sun on my face and if you see the proximity of where these patio doors open up, we are within 50 feet of this facility,” said Hospice CEO Gwen Whitley.

Whitley says this proposed facility will be in the direct line of view of at least six patients’ windows and the family kitchen. She says patients enjoy the peacefulness of this community and is worried this site will attract a lot of traffic.

“The noise and the light pollution is one of the big things that we are concerned about because this is very peaceful,” said Whitley. “It was the purpose of creating this here to be in this type of environment.”



New Hanover County Commissioner Rob Zapple says, as for the noise, emergency responders will not be pulling up with their sirens on. There’s also vegetation between the buildings. Zapple says he understands their concerns but this facility is addressing a bigger issue– getting drug abusers clean.

“The Healing Place and the Healings Transitions program which has been replicated in several other cities,” said Zapple. “The reason we selected [it] is because of their high success rate and by success rate I mean those people who don’t fall back … into recovery.”

Whitley agrees the facility is needed but believes there are other sites in the county that would be better.

“Our hopes with this is that we come away with some type of answer next Tuesday night,” said Whitley. “…And that we come away with at the very least all parties Trillium, County Commissioners, and City Council sit down and lets try to find a solution that works for everyone.”

Spokewoman for Trillium Health Services, which is a major project partner, says Healing Transitions has an over 70 % success after one year of withdrawal.

The City of Wilmington has to grant a special use permit before the project can move forward. A public hearing will take place Tuesday, January 8th, during the city council meeting.