Proposed drug treatment center stirs controversy among Wheaton residents

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WHEATON, Ill. -- A drug treatment facility wants to locate in an area of Wheaton and that is stirring-up a controversy among some residents.

The center would help those who are dealing with heroin and other opioid addictions, but nearby residents and businesses are saying "not in my neighborhood."

A public hearing was scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday night so the public can voice their opinions. Hundreds of people packed the room for the meeting to voice their concerns.

Haymarket Center runs a drug treatment facility the city and they want to add an outpatient program in Wheaton. They said it’s needed to combat the rise in heroin and other opioids in DuPage County.

The organization asked the city of Wheaton to approve a 16-bed residential center at a site near the Rice Lake Square strip mall. This is right behind the Studio Movie Grill Theater and next to KinderCare Day Care Center. This has raised issues with people living nearby.

Some residents have sent thousands of letters to city leaders about it.They say they’re concerned it could increase crime and decrease property values.

One man who lives near the site said his biggest issue with it is simply the location.

“Since 2013, in DuPage, has had more than 300 overdose reversals and close to 80 deaths in 2016. We need to be wearing badges of honor when you want to talk about opening up a treatment facility. This is what should be happening right now in Wheaton,” Dr. Dan Lustig, CEO of Haymarket, said.

A representative from Haymarket said the planning and zoning committee could potentially vote on the plan Tuesday night. But the city council would still need to approve it.

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