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Group withdraws application for rehab facility on Bank Street

November 16, 2018

New London — A New London-based organization planning to use a Bank Street building for its administrative offices and as a base for its mobile opioid outreach services has withdrawn its application to the city.

A-Cure LLC, which provides outreach, support services and recovery housing for people with addiction disorders, had applied to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a special permit to operate what zoning regulations classify as a “private, public or quasi-public rehabilitation facility” at two storefronts in a building at 607 Bank St.

In addition to the proposed rehabilitative services offered during the day, the group also wanted a permit to operate during overnight hours, a place for administrative offices for a mobile opioid outreach team and a point of access for the group’s first responders and community and families, according to the group’s application.

No medication would be provided or maintained at the site locations, listed in the application as 611 and 613 Bank St.

“Our primary purpose is to bridge the gaps we have identified by educating and connecting individuals that have had an opioid overdose or suffer from opioid disorder to resources and supportive services during those extended hours,” A-Cure Director Terri Keaton wrote in her application.

Keaton did not return calls seeking comment on the reason for withdrawing the application. It was due to be taken up by the Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday. Keaton notified city officials of the withdrawal in an email on Wednesday afternoon.  

The group has targeted the overnight hours as the time when many overdose victims need direction but have few options for services.

“We will be the warm handoff to service providers that operate during traditional hours,” Keaton had written in the application.

The application was opposed by New London police Crime Prevention Officer Ryan Soccio, who wrote a letter indicating the new facility could lead to more crime in the area and negatively impact the quality of life in the neighborhood.

New London Human Services Director Jeanne Milstein said she “respectfully disagrees” with Soccio’s portrayal of addicts as criminals, which she said is a stigma associated with opioid addiction.

“This is not a moral failure or a character flaw. This is a disease,” Milstein said. “Sometimes people have a different view of people with the disease in the city as opposed to suburban communities. There are so many people that go to work every day, have families or are receiving medically based treatment.”

Milstein, while not offering an opinion on A-Cure’s application with the city, said the Opioid Action Team of Southeastern Connecticut has hired so-called recovery navigators to visit places where people might be struggling with addiction.

Among other things, she said the group looks at data and systemic barriers so that resources are used appropriately. More resources, Milstein said, are badly needed to address the overall problems associated with opioid addiction.

g.smith@theday.com

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