Why not another sober house in Morgantown’s backyard?
Last week, the “not welcome” mat was out at news of a recovery house moving onto South Park’s Grand Street..
More than a dozen residents expressed their concerns to Morgantown’s mayor and others at a neighborhood association meeting.
Meanwhile, this discussion has never stopped on the South Park Association of Neighbors’ Facebook site.
It’s still uncertain whether this drug and alcohol recovery facility is going to meet the intense reception Morgantown’s Sober Living house did.
That is, lawsuits, efforts to prevent a conditional-use request and scads of far-fetched fears.
But if it does, we would urge those who will be paying for any billable hours for an attorney to think twice.
Because you have already lost your case, your money and, perhaps, your mind.
Case law on this matter is well documented over the past 20 years. Recovering addicts and alcoholics are considered disabled, which provides them protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Furthermore, the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1998 prohibits discrimination against people who have disabilities,.
In other words, local zoning laws don’t have a leg to stand on in legal challenges to these federal laws.
As for your money, even if an attorney takes on such a case pro bono, you’ll either pay the defendant’s legal fees or, in lieu of a counter-suit, you might lose your shirt.
And as for your mind, suing facilities that serve the disabled smacks of lacking compassion.
Not to mention that as our state reels from the scourge of a deadly epidemic, we are grasping for answers.
The step-down process to treat addicts and alcoholics is one of those answers.
This is no detox center; partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient program; nor is it a halfway house or really even a sober house.
The Oxford House model is the last step in such treatment — a self-run, self-supported recovery house that is peer-driven.
Imagine a neighbor that is virtually invisible — quiet, sober, works and is accountable. Sounds like the kind of neighbor that any neighborhood would welcome.
One thing that’s often overlooked in such issues as this one is the scale of addiction in our state.
Nearly 900 people died in West Virginia from drug overdoses in 2016. Our state has led the nation with the highest rate of death from drugs overdoses for years..
Some will say that’s all the more reason why this facility cannot make a difference.
Nonsense. We welcome Oxford House to Morgantown.
We just made a difference for that one.