Company withdraws plans for drug treatment center in Austin amid - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Company withdraws plans for drug treatment center in Austin amid public outcry

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AUSTIN, Ind. (WDRB) -- A new drug treatment facility will not be coming to Austin due to public outcry.

Evansville-based Boyett Treatment Center was about to sign a lease for a satellite office in Austin, but opposition from a city council member and the mayor has caused the company to scrap plans.

The center of the decision is based around the Suboxone – a powerful medically-assisted opioid treatment to help patients off of opiates.

Austin councilwoman Staci Mullins works in health care and opposed the clinic from opening. She feared the $300 per month cost for the drug would be too much for low-income patients to afford and worried many would look for the drug illegally on the streets, adding to the city’s nationally known drug epidemic.

“They are not utilizing Medicaid, and the fact is their medication is being prescribed on a monthly basis instead of being monitored daily or preferably in treatment,” Mullins said.

Austin Mayor Dillo Bush also had reservations about the clinic coming to town.  He said  the city’s zoning allows for any legitimate business to come to town, but he was also worried about addiction increasing, not decreasing.

“Obviously, we have issues with drug abuse, as does with every other community in the country, but ours has kind of been under the microscope for a couple of years now," said Bush, adding the city already has two facilities that prescribe Suboxone.

Late Monday afternoon, WDRB News received an email from Boyett Treatment Center saying they are canceling plans for the new treatment center after the landlord rescinded the lease.  

"The Naysayers were in the minority, but they were the loudest," the letter read. "We had approached the community with the best of intentions, but prominent members of the community have twisted our goodwill into something ugly and mercenary.”

However, some residents are upset the center is no longer coming to town.

“Yes, it needs something like this. If not, people are going to keep going back to what they know," said Heather Rose, a recovering heroin and opioid addict who is a Suboxone patient. "If they take something away, they find something worse to get onto."

Since being on the treatment, Rose said she has been clean for a year and a half and is even buying a house with her fiancé.

Boyett Treatment Center President Nathaniel Boyett refused to comment if he will try to lease another Austin location in the future. Below is the full letter they sent Monday:

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