New Hanover County Board of Commissioners vice chair proposes 100-bed substance abuse recovery facility for women

Updated: Jun. 27, 2019 at 3:31 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Vice chairwoman of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, Julia Boseman, said she will propose a drug treatment facility for women at the commissioners’ meeting Monday.

The proposal asks for a 100-bed facility to be built on the same campus as the 200-bed men’s substance abuse recovery facility Wilmington City Council approved in February. The men’s facility, called The Healing Place, is planned for Medical Center Drive in Wilmington.

Boseman, who is an attorney, said a treatment facility is just as necessary for women as it is for men. She said working in the Department of Social Services court, she has seen it is mostly women who are left with the children and a drug problem. Boseman said kids are taken away from their moms because of drugs.

“I see people in the court system everyday who want help, who would want to go to treatment, but they can’t go because they don’t have insurance and they don’t have the means,” Boseman said. “I think if people are willing to go and want to go, then it’s our responsibility and our duty to help them.”

The Healing Place’s location was met with opposition.

City Council listened to speakers for and against the facility for almost four hours in February. Those opposed to the location included leaders from the Children’s Learning Center, which is in the same area. They said a survey found 45 percent of parents said they would remove their children from the center if the facility was built there. It was approved on the condition that a licensed security professional remain on site around the clock.

Boseman said stereotypes are part of the reason for opposition to The Healing Place’s location.

“There’s a lot of ‘I don’t want it in my backyard,’" she said. “This is very personal to me. I went to rehab in 2013 and I know when I went to rehab, I didn’t go there to try to score drugs or to try to bother children or these other things all addicts are being accused of.

“Quite frankly, the language they used to describe what all addicts are was very offensive to me personally. extremely offensive and it’s not OK.”

The Wilmington Police Department announced Wednesday there has been a spike in heroin overdoes in the area over the past month. Boseman said that is even more reason for the treatment facility.

Boseman is hopeful Trillium, the company building The Healing Place, will build the women’s facility. If the proposal is approved, Boseman wants to look into building a separate facility for young people too.

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