Mark Caserta: Building a city on drug rehab is a disastrous business plan.

26 Oct



Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor for the conservative blog,  “Free State Patriot”

October 26, 2019


Anyone who tells you Huntington, WV. is successfully addressing its devastating level of drug addiction via its rehab efforts, is trying to sell something.

To say that Huntington is “spinning its wheels” in dealing with drug abuse is a monumental understatement. We are, indeed, digging ourselves into a trench from which it will be very difficult to escape. And sadly, we have leadership who believes in doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.

In fact, our city leaders are unable to offer any confirmable metric showing any sustainable level of success at reducing opioid addiction within our own city.

It gets worse.

Reliable sources have confirmed we now have rehab facilities actively sourcing addicts outside our city limits, encouraging them to come to Huntington for treatment.

Why? Why bring them to our city – our centers for treatment? Why not help duplicate efforts in their own communities and educate their personnel on providing treatment to their citizens rather than bring them here. And furthermore, what is their incentive to ever leave?

Well, just follow the government money feeding these institutions.

According to a recent information provided by AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans), a national association whose members provide coverage for healthcare and related services, under Mayor Steve Williams’ leadership, “Huntington has become known as the ‘epicenter of the solution’ to the opioid epidemic”

Really? Many informed individuals vehemently disagree!

Huntington has become the epicenter of the “problem” and rapidly becoming the East Coast provider for rehab services! Additionally, we offer a city-sponsored level of enablement incentivizing these people to stay, virtually living a lifestyle supported by taxpayers!

Reportedly, since 2015, the City of Huntington, WV. has acquired $4.8 million in state, federal and philanthropic grants to combat the opioid epidemic.

What do we have to show for it?

Has the Mayor’s Office of Drug Control Policy been effective in utilizing the so-called “harm reduction program”, adult drug court and drug overdose response team to reduce the problem? Or have they simply enabled behaviors and attempted to build an “economic model” on drug rehab?

How do you build an economic model on addiction? What economic future is there for taxpayers in a business that never increases cash flow in a city, and even adversely impacts current business?

city of huntington

Let’s be clear. Until people have hope in this city for a real future, both socially and economically, we are doomed to a perpetuation and ultimate increase in the socio-economic woes we’ve seen grow under the current city administration.

Don’t take my word for it! Listen to what experts have to say!

Per a 2017 report from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “The brain adapts and responds to the environments and conditions in which a person lives. When we speak of addiction as a chronic disorder of the brain, it thus includes an understanding that some individuals are more susceptible to drug use and addiction than others, not only because of genetic factors but also because of stress and a host of other environmental and social factors in their lives that have made them more vulnerable.”

The report goes on to say that while opioid addiction is an “equal opportunity” problem that can afflict people from all races and walks of life, it has particularly impacted some of the poorest regions of the country, such as Appalachia, where vast numbers of people are living in poverty. These individuals, void of economic hope, are especially at risk for addiction, and subsequent consequences like overdose or the spread of HIV.

Sound familiar?

Bottom line: A population facing increasing economic challenges and increased psychological stress are disproportionately impacted by addiction.

If we ever expect to reduce drug addiction in our city, we must improve the economic model.

Look around you. When was the last time you saw the construction of business that could provide a living wage to the inhabitants of our area? People are hurting. Many of them are working two and three jobs just to make ends meet. Others aren’t even trying. They’re either leaving the area or being engulfed by the quick sand of hopelessness and despair. Yet, we have a city administration which seems oblivious to a solution.

Yes, there is definitely a need for rehabilitation and re-assimilation into society. We all care about people either bound by addiction or languishing in the hopelessness of poverty. But without economic improvement, without jobs, without hope, more and more people will fall into the calamitous abyss of addiction.

The City of Huntington, WV. will never see economic improvement until leadership begins putting people, not political gain, first.  And building a city on rehab, is a disastrous business plan.




5 Responses to “Mark Caserta: Building a city on drug rehab is a disastrous business plan.”

  1. Brian Poling October 26, 2019 at 8:54 pm #

    I’m probably completely different than any other person who has become successful after “treatment “.99.9% believe in the brainwashing that comes with recovery. I agree with the article!We are shipping in addicts from everywhere,and the truth is 1-50 (maybe),make it to a year sober.So we have all of these addicts brought here,49-50 leave their ( program),then they stay here Wreaking havoc,and destroying properties to the point that they are never arrested because there are more crimes than jails.Its rediculous.And many of the owners of these so called programs are making a very good living of the insurance (Obama care ) of these addicts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me October 27, 2019 at 6:07 pm #

      No one wants to here that, because churches other programs are now jumping into it just for the money, even city hall sad


  2. Me October 27, 2019 at 6:00 pm #

    Finally somebody understand what happening here, where now importing drug addicts so this town is overrun with them, when is this going to stop, we give away free housing, no one has to work, but the ones supporting them the Huntington WV tax payer, stop the funding or cut back a lot of it, we have people out of work put that same effort and money into that. But no everyone is getting rich off of someone’s else’s Missouri so it’s not going to stop, all about the funding . What a sad place this place has become, no one’s going to come here and visit or to see this town because of the bad publicity and the things it represents. Need of change, get rid of some of these old politicians and get some new ones in there with new ideas the city council members, judges all way to the top we need a big turn around here it is long overdue.


  3. Let's Get Factual October 28, 2019 at 10:30 am #

    Actually, studies show that harm-reduction interventions are effective, not only on a micro level, but a macro level as well (Logan & Marlatt, 2010). All treatment centers actively admit patients/clients into their programs from various locations; much like hospitals and other healthcare entities. Guess what- the number of available individuals seeking or mandated to treatment is often not enough in one specific location to successfully run a program.

    While the economy may play a role in addiction, focusing on improving the economic status will not show any significant improvement in the data. Merely focusing on improving the financial status will only provide more access to drugs of use and may actually increase in polysubstance use. And, outside of mere economic growth, we need community programming.

    As experts in the field argue, and I agree, this needs to be a systemic, evidence-based approach- we need to implement SBIRT into more programs, prevention services that are actually evidence-based, move away from a recovery-based model of treatment, and provide family education to the families of addicts.

    While many people get mad over the prescribing of opioid policies that have been implemented, we know that n many instances, opioid pain pills were not necessary and in fact, long-term opioid use can actually make the pain worsen. So, people, even those who are not in addiction, need to stop going towards opioids for pain, other than specific instances. Rather, they need to have an open discussion with their providers about other interventions such as topical medications, non-narcotic medications, physical therapy, massage therapy, psychotherapy (which has great success on chronic pain), etc.


  4. Brian October 29, 2019 at 1:26 pm #

    I agree
    These addicted people are just being given another way to use the community further.


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